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Cal Poly Softball Edged in Friday Opener by Central Florida, 2-1

Cal Poly Softball Edged in Friday Opener by Central Florida, 2-1

CATHEDRAL CITY – Reigning USA Softball National Player of the Week honoree and senior righthander Sierra Hyland struck out seven UCLA hitters Friday afternoon, but the sixth-ranked Bruins scratched out two runs in the third inning to slide past the Cal Poly softball program at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, 3-1. Despite a nine-strikeout performance from junior righthander Lindsey Chalmers (above) during Friday's opening game, Cal Poly also fell to Central Florida in nine innings, 2-1.

During Friday's second game against No. 6 UCLA (7-1), Cal Poly surged ahead in the top of the second inning. Leading off with a double and moving to second base through sophomore first baseman Megan Nordin's sacrifice bunt, Hyland scored after freshman designated player Hailey Martin produced her first collegiate RBI with a single through the left side of the infield.

Cal Poly's lead was short-lived, however, as UCLA equalized in the bottom half of the second with catcher Madeline Jelenicki following right fielder Paige Halstead's leadoff triple with a sacrifice fly.

An inning later, first baseman Brianna Tautalafua placed UCLA up 2-1 with a leadoff homer. Four batters later, third baseman Bubba Nickles singled down the right field line to plate shortstop Delaney Spaulding.

Set down in order during the fourth and fifth innings, Cal Poly received just one more hit the remainder of the day with junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar singling to begin the sixth.

In the circle, Hyland (3-2) failed to issue a walk, but conceded five hits.

During Friday's opener versus Central Florida (3-3), Chalmers (1-1) kept the Knights to just one hit through the opening seven innings before Cal Poly pushed across the day's first run in the top of the eighth. With the international tiebreaker rule in effect and junior center fielder Amanda Sandoval beginning the inning on second base, Convissar successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt. After junior designated player Stephanie Heyward drew a four-pitch walk, senior left fielder Courtney Tyler produced a sacrifice fly to bring home Sandoval for a 1-0 lead.

Central Florida, however, tied the matchup in the bottom half of the inning with leadoff batter left fielder Linnea Goodman singling up the middle to plate designated player Courtney Rotton.

The Mustangs were retired in order in the top of the ninth and in the bottom of the inning, Central Florida first baseman Jazmine Esparza produced an infield single with two down to bring home second baseman Cassady Brewer.

Chalmers, who conceded just three hits, tossed 65 percent of her 142 pitches for strikes.

Cal Poly (4-3) continues play at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Saturday, Feb. 18 versus Utah Valley (2:30 p.m.) and San Diego (7:30 p.m.).