DAVIS – Senior righthander Sierra Hyland (top) became the Cal Poly softball program's all-time leader with her 34th career shutout as the Mustangs opened a Saturday afternoon doubleheader and three-game series versus UC Davis with an 8-0 triumph at LaRue Field. Cal Poly completed the sweep in game No. 2, overturning a seven-run, first-inning deficit and, in the program's lengthiest game in more than eight years, outlasted UC Davis in 13 innings, 8-7.
During Saturday's opening victory – in which Cal Poly (31-15, 7-7) reached the 30-win plateau for the first time since 2014 – UC Davis starting righthander Andrea Reynolds (6-14) retired the first 11 Mustangs she faced until junior third baseman Stephanie Heyward tripled with two down in the top of the fourth inning.
Cal Poly was set down in succession during the fifth before eventually breaking through with the decisive runs in the sixth. Senior second baseman Ashley Tornio collected just Cal Poly's second hit with a leadoff single to center field before junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt that was fielded and thrown away by UC Davis third baseman Isabella Leon. The error allowed Tornio to reach third before junior center fielder Amanda Sandoval delivered a single through the left side of the infield to place the Mustangs up 1-0.
With two Mustangs still on and two outs later in the sixth, senior Courtney Tyler swatted her second home run of 2017 to left field to provide Cal Poly the 4-0 advantage.
Hyland (18-10), meanwhile, allowed three of the five UC Davis hits during the opening three innings. She finished with six strikeouts and allowed only two UC Davis baserunners to reach third.
With her 34th career shutout, Hyland surpassed two-time All-America selection Desarie Knipfer (1995-98) for the all-time Cal Poly lead.
Cal Poly tacked on its final four runs in the seventh as Convissar delivered a run-scoring double down the left field line and Sandoval produced a two-run base hit before Heyward ran the lead to 8-0 with an RBI double.
During Saturday's second game – which featured 31 hits, 24 stranded baserunners, six pitchers and marked Cal Poly's lengthiest game since defeating Utah State 2-1 in 13 innings on March 8, 2009 – UC Davis leapt out to a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning against Mustang junior starting righthander Lindsey Chalmers (11-6). Center fielder Brianna Warner and left fielder Marissa Jauregui opened the scoring with run-scoring hits before the Aggies loaded the bases with two down. Chalmers then unfurled a wild pitch with a two-strike count against designated player Meghan Bradbury. Bradbury reached first on a swinging strike and the wild pitch allowed Jauregui to score.
With the bases still full, UC Davis right fielder Taylor Peters belted a grand slam to center field for the 7-0 advantage.
Cal Poly, however, struck back immediately. Hyland, appearing as Cal Poly's designated player to begin game No. 2, opened the top of the second with an infield single before Tyler drew a five-pitch walk. Freshman first baseman Hailey Martin then delivered a two-run double to reduce Cal Poly's deficit to 7-2.
In the circle, freshman righthander Steffi Best relieved Chalmers with two down in the first and – in her lengthiest collegiate stint – struck out two. She allowed six hits and walked three, but kept the Aggie run total at seven.
Meanwhile, Cal Poly kept cutting away at the Aggie lead. In the sixth, Martin followed a one-out Hyland double with a two-run homer to right center to cut the distance to 7-4.
The Mustangs completed the comeback in the top of the seventh. With one down, Sandoval and Heyward put together successive singles. Hyland followed with a run-scoring hit for a 7-5 deficit. Tyler then delivered a fourth straight Mustang single, but Heyward was thrown out at home by Warner from center field to keep the Aggie lead at two runs. Martin nonetheless sliced a double down the left field line – her third extra-base hit of the game – to bring home Hyland and Tyler and knot the matchup at 7-7.
Hyland relieved Best in the circle to start the bottom of the seventh and struck out six Aggies in seven innings of relief while allowing just three hits. UC Davis advanced just two baserunners into scoring position versus Hyland in the extra innings and none to third base,
Back at the plate, Cal Poly saw a possible winning run once again thrown out at home by Warner in the eighth as Tornio was thwarted.
The Mustangs enjoyed eight baserunners during the extra innings before finally breaking through in the top of the 13th. With two outs, Heyward singled before Hyland stroked a run-scoring triple into the right center field gap for an 8-7 lead.
Hyland earned two quick outs to begin the bottom of the 13th before walking Warner on a full count. She recovered to strike out Jauregui to end the matchup.
Cal Poly and UC Davis close the three-game series with a 12 noon matchup on Sunday, April 30.