CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – Starting freshman righthander Sierra Hyland (right) struck out a career-high eight Fordham hitters during a 10-4 victory on Thursday evening at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic as the Cal Poly softball team split opening-day tournament action inside Big League Dreams Sports Park. Despite a grand slam from Hyland in Thursday's opener, Cal Poly dropped an earlier 13-7 decision to No. 25 Texas.
During Thursday's second game against Fordham (5-5), Cal Poly (5-7) overturned a four-run first inning by the Rams by scoring five times in the bottom of the fourth. Senior second baseman Ashley Romano followed sophomore first baseman Breana West's leadoff single with a base hit before a throwing error by Fordham third baseman Kayla Lombardo on a ball hit by senior right fielder Cami Brown allowed freshman pinch runner Taylor Yzaguirre to score. Three batters later, senior shortstop Kim Westlund produced a two-run single through the right side of the infield. On the play, another Fordham throwing error plated Brown to deadlock the scoreline at 4-4 before Mustang junior right fielder Emily Ceccacci delivered a run-scoring double to bring home Westlund and provide the Mustangs the lead.
Thanks to run-scoring hits from senior third baseman Jillian Andersen and senior center fielder Lauren Moreno and another Fordham error, Cal Poly added three runs in the fifth for an 8-4 lead. Highlighted by an RBI single from Brown in the sixth, Cal Poly completed the scoring with two more runs.
Taking over for starting junior lefthander Chloe Wurst in the first inning, Hyland (2-3) earned the win after scattering three hits.
During Thursday's opening contest against the 25th-ranked Longhorns (7-7), Texas opened the scoring in the top of the third inning through shortstop Taylor Thom's two-run homer.
The Longhorns then proceeded to compile a seven-run fourth inning. Left fielder Stephanie Wong and third baseman Devon Tunning opened the onslaught with successive one-out, run-scoring singles before Thom picked up RBI No. 3 with a sacrifice fly to provide Texas a 5-0 lead. Two batters later and with two down, right fielder Lindsey Stephens produced the game's first grand slam to stretch the Texas advantage to 9-0.
Texas added two more runs in the top of the fifth but, Cal Poly, facing a run-rule defeat, took seven runs off the Longhorns in the bottom half of the inning. Moreno helped open Cal Poly's reply by getting plunked with the bases loaded before Ceccacci singled home Romano. Two batters later and with two outs, freshman left fielder Courtney Tyler – making her Mustang debut – drew a walk to force home Andersen. Hyland then belted the next pitch over the center field fence to cut the Longhorn lead to 11-7.
However, Texas – which outhit Cal Poly 14-6 – held the Mustangs to one hit the remainder of the day and tacked on two more runs in the seventh to cap the scoring.
Hyland, who surrendered nine runs but struck out five Longhorns in three and two-thirds innings, suffered the loss.
Cal Poly resumes tournament play on Friday, Feb. 21 against Syracuse at 3:30 p.m.