STOCKTON – Senior righthander Sierra Hyland pitched a complete-game, one-hitter with six strikeouts Thursday afternoon as the Cal Poly softball program advanced to the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship postseason tournament final round by topping Nevada 3-0 in the Pacific-hosted Region 1 title game.
Freshman first baseman Hailey Martin singled home two of three runs for Cal Poly (37-19), which will open the six-team, double-elimination NISC championship round on Sunday, May 21 at 1 p.m. PT versus Lamar (31-29) at host Liberty's Kamphuis Field. Joining Cal Poly, Lamar and Liberty (41-23) among the six regional champions in Lynchburg, Va., will be Kennesaw State (39-18), Weber State (35-19-1) and Illinois State (33-22).
A victory versus Lamar advances Cal Poly to a Tuesday, May 22 winner's bracket matchup versus Illinois State at 10 a.m. PT. A loss to Lamar sends Cal Poly to a Tuesday elimination-game matchup versus a yet-to-be-determined opponent at 4 p.m. PT.
The complete NISC Championship Round bracket is above.
Cal Poly, which opened Region 1 play with a 7-0 victory against Pacific (May 16) before handing Nevada a 1-0 loss (May 17), didn't allow a run during Region 1 play while the Mustangs pitching staff conceded just four hits in 27.0 innings.
The three Region 1 victories marked Cal Poly's first three-game postseason winning streak in the program's 23-year Division I tenure.
Held to a single hit during the opening two innings, Cal Poly produced the only lead it needed in the top of the third. Juniors Stephanie Heyward and Chelsea Convissar strung together successive one-out singles and, two batters later, freshman first baseman Hailey Martin deposited a run-scoring single into center field.
Hyland, meanwhile, retired nine of the first 10 Wolf Pack hitters she faced and kept Nevada hitless until left fielder Raquel Martinez singled to open the fourth. Hyland, however, allowed just one more Nevada baserunner the remainder of the afternoon and faced only four hitters over the minimum. Just one Wolf Pack player advanced into scoring position the entirety of the game.
Cal Poly cushioned its lead with a two-run fifth that began with Convissar producing a leadoff double before Nevada starting righthander Kali Sargent (9-10) walked Hyland. Martin followed with another run-scoring hit and, two Mustangs later, junior center fielder Amanda Sandoval laced a double down the left field line to bring home Hyland.