SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Four-time Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week honoree Sierra Hyland struck out seven UC Santa Barbara hitters in five innings of work, belted a solo home run and tied a 16-year-old program single-game record with five hits as the Cal Poly softball team opened a Saturday doubleheader against the Gauchos at Campus Diamond with a 14-1 victory. The Mustangs, however, settled for a split after dropping the second game, 2-0.
During Saturday's doubleheader opener, Hyland (18-5) kept the Gauchos hitless for the opening three and one-third innings until a double from right fielder DeJanee Moore scored first baseman Lauren Boser for UC Santa Barbara's first and only run. Hyland, who walked just two and allowed three hits, tossed 69 percent of her 91 pitches for strikes in winning for the eighth time in her previous nine starts.
At the plate, Hyland's 5-for-5 performance marked the highest single-game hit total by a Mustang since Kelly Sack recorded five during a 4-3 loss against Long Beach State on March 22, 1998.
Offensively, Cal Poly (21-13, 3-2) – which equaled its season high with 15 hits – attacked UC Santa Barbara starter Shelby Wisdom (10-11) immediately. With one out in the top of the first, freshman right fielder Courtney Tyler doubled to score senior center fielder Lauren Moreno before Hyland dumped a single into center to plate junior left fielder Emily Ceccacci.
The Mustangs then upped their lead to 3-0 in the second as senior third baseman Jillian Andersen opened the inning with a walk before stealing second and scoring through senior shortstop Kim Westlund's center field triple.
Cal Poly's onslaught continued into the third. After Tyler reached through another inning-opening walk and Hyland singled, both Mustang baserunners moved into scoring position through a sacrifice bunt off the bat of senior catcher Mariah Cochiolo. Two batters later, Andersen singled up the middle to increase Cal Poly's lead to 5-0.
After conceding UC Santa Barbara's lone run in the bottom of the fourth, Hyland returned in the top of fifth to follow a leadoff triple from Tyler with another run-scoring single up the middle. Cal Poly went on to load the bases and drive Wisdom from the circle before Moreno drew a four-pitch walk to bring home freshman pinch runner Shawna McDonough for a 7-1 lead.
Hyland then added her solo home run in the top of the sixth before Cal Poly finalized the triumph with a six-run seventh inning.
Cal Poly's 14-run total was its highest since pounding LIU Brooklyn 14-2 in five innings on Feb. 24, 2013 – a streak of 75 games.
During Saturday's second game, Cal Poly recorded six hits through the opening four innings against Wisdom, but stranded seven baserunners as UC Santa Barbara broke the scoreless deadlock in the bottom half of the inning.
After loading the bases through a hit, walk and fielding error and driving Mustang starting lefthander Chloe Wurst (3-7) from the game, UC Santa Barbara received a full-count walk from shortstop Emily Brucelas to force home the winning run. Designated player Jessica Tetzlaff then delivered a single up the middle to plate second baseman Kathryn Pilpil for the 2-0 final scoreline.
Cal Poly's best chance to break through occurred during the third inning, as the Mustangs loaded the bases with one down. Hyland, however, fouled out before Cochiolo grounded out to end the threat.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara close the three-game set with a 12 noon contest on Sunday, April 6.