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STOCKTON – Junior righthander Lindsey Chalmers (above) struck out seven Nevada hitters Wednesday afternoon as the Cal Poly softball program advanced to the Region 1 title game of the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship postseason tournament with a 1-0 victory against Nevada at Pacific's Bill Simoni Field.
Chalmers also allowed just two hits for Cal Poly (36-19), which moved into Thursday's 12 noon NISC Region 1 championship matchup against Nevada (30-24), which returned in Tuesday evening's loser's bracket final to eliminate host school Pacific (28-26), 9-8. The Mustangs would need to be defeated twice by Nevada on Thursday.
The Region 1 champion advances to the six-team NISC championship, hosted by a yet-to-be-determined school May 21-24.
With Wednesday's victory, 13th-year Cal Poly head coach Jenny Condon became just the seventh individual in 33 years of Big West Conference softball to reach 350 career wins.
The 2017 NISC marks just the second time Cal Poly has won consecutive postseason games in 23 Division I seasons. The Mustangs, who handed Pacific a 7-0 loss on Tuesday to open the NISC, eliminated both Portland State and Nevada on May 16, 2009 to reach the Stanford Regional final of that year's NCAA Tournament.
During Wednesday's matchup, Chalmers (13-7) kept Nevada hitless through the opening two and two-thirds innings and faced just five Wolf Pack hitters over the minimum during the game. Nevada enjoyed just two baserunners in scoring position the entirety of the afternoon and none past second base.
Cal Poly, meanwhile, was kept to just two hits and without a runner in scoring position by Nevada starting righthander Kali Sargent (9-9) until the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore right fielder Crimson Kaiser then led off with a single and, two batters later, Sargent hit senior second baseman Ashley Tornio. Junior third baseman Stephanie Heyward followed with a single to load the bases before junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to plate senior pinch runner Shawna McDonough for the 1-0 advantage.
Chalmers then retired six of the final seven hitters she saw to chalk up her first postseason win.
ABOUT THE NISC: Sponsored by Fort Collins, Colo.-based Triple Crown Sports, the inaugural NISC consists of four, four-team regionals and two, five-team regionals. Each regional will be played May 16-18 with a double-elimination format. The six regional winners advance to the May 21-24, double-elimination championship hosted by a yet-to-be-determined program. The remaining five regional hosts are Weber State, Illinois State, Lamar, Georgia State and Liberty.