COMPLETE SERIES PREVIEW (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly softball program closes its 17-game regular season home schedule at Bob Janssen Field with a three-game, May 5-6 series against Hawai'i. The series begins with a 6 p.m. matchup on Friday, May 5 and closes with a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, May 6. Sitting fifth in the Big West Conference standings, Cal Poly (31-16, 7-8) enters its penultimate series of 2017 trailing second-place CSUN (29-18, 9-6) by just two games with six matchups remaining. Sixth-place Hawai'i (27-19, 6-9), meanwhile, has dropped five of its previous six games and is 0-6 in Big West games away from O'ahu. Cal Poly, which secured its first 30-win season in three years by taking two of three games at UC Davis (19-29, 4-11) last weekend, is 9-5 at home this year. The Mustangs, whose pitching staff ERA of 1.27 ranks fourth among 291 NCAA Division I programs, require just four more victories to secure the program's first 35-win season since the 2009 Cal Poly squad finished 41-12.
FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS THIS WEEK: Max Milander returns to the mic to provide play-by-play detail of Cal Poly's May 5-6 series versus Hawai'i for GoPoly.com HERE. The pre-game show begins at 5:45 p.m. on Friday and 1:45 p.m. on Saturday. Live stats from all three series games will also be available via GoPoly.com HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS HAWAI'I: The Mustangs have taken just one series from the Rainbow Wahine since Hawai'i joined the Big West Conference ahead of the 2013 season, sweeping a three-game set on O'ahu in 2014. Hawai'i won two of three home games versus Cal Poly last season and two of three in San Luis Obispo in 2015. The Rainbow Wahine lead the all-time series, 9-7.
CLOSE, BUT ...: Cal Poly's 16 losses this season have occurred by just 28 total runs (1.75 per game) with only two of the program's defeats coming by more than two runs. Five of Cal Poly's defeats have occurred in extra innings and three have occurred versus ranked programs.
MARATHON MUSTANGS: Led by the program's lengthiest game in eight seasons – an 8-7, 13-inning victory at UC Davis (April 29) – Cal Poly has played a program record 10 extra-inning matchups this season. The Mustangs, 5-5 in extra-inning games thus far, have played 22 extra innings this season – the equivalent of more than three games.
HYLAND'S SENIOR SEASON A DOMINATING EFFORT: Setting the Cal Poly program record with her 34th career shutout in an 8-0 win at UC Davis (April 29) marked the latest notable effort for senior righthander Sierra Hyland (19-10), who enters Friday's matchup versus Hawai'i having allowed just one earned run in her last 25.2 inning while ranking sixth among NCAA Division I pitchers in ERA (0.96), 13th in strikeouts (231), 15th in shutouts (eight), 16th in hits allowed per seven innings (4.06), 17th in walks allowed per seven innings (1.06) and 38th in strikeouts per seven innings (7.9). Among Big West Pitchers, Hyland also leads with her 19 victories, .165 opposing batting average and 205.0 innings pitched. Hyland, who opened the year by tossing a no-hitter versus Purdue (Feb. 10) and a perfect game against Creighton (Feb. 11) to earn the first of her two USA Softball National Player of the Week awards this year (she was also named NFCA National Pitcher of the Week on March 21), features an 7.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, averages 1.12 strikeouts per inning and – having matched her career high with 15 strikeouts versus Liberty (Feb. 19) – produced seven double-digit strikeout games. Hyland, who owns one-hitters versus Middle Tennessee State (March 4) and No. 9 Oklahoma (March 17) and a two-hitter versus UConn (March 11), has walked just 31 batters all season. A conference record 16-time career Big West Pitcher of the Week honoree and two-time Player of the Week selection (her 18 total honors are also a Big West record in any sport), Hyland is the only player in the 33-year history of Big West softball to reach 900 career strikeouts (currently 921) and the only player in program history to have compiled three 200-strkeout seasons. Offensively, Hyland leads Cal Poly with a .326 (47-for-144) batting average, 47 hits, nine doubles, 66 total bases and eight multi-RBI games. She's also sixth among Big West hitters with 31 RBI. A .322 (191-for-593) career hitter whose average is the sixth highest mark in program history, Hyland also ranks second all-time in RBI (117), fourth in doubles (38), fifth in hits (191), home runs (16) and total bases (279) and eighth in at-bats (593).
THIS WEEK IN SIERRA HYLAND: Having already set a new Big West Conference career strikeout record (currently 921) and new Cal Poly program records for victories (77), appearances (152), starts (113), innings pitched (885.2), shutouts (34) and saves (six), Sierra Hyland requires just three more victories to become one of only six Big West pitchers with 80-plus wins and 14.1 innings to become just the third pitcher in Big West history with 900-plus innings worked.
CHALMERS IN NATIONAL FORM: Without a sub-3.00 ERA at any point during her first two seasons, junior righthander Lindsey Chalmers (11-6) takes a 1.75 ERA that ranks 61st among NCAA Division I players into Friday's matchup versus Hawai'i. Chalmers is also 55th nationally in hits allowed per seven innings (5.00) and second among Big West pitchers (to only Sierra Hyland) with a .195 opposing batting average. Having conceded just nine earned runs in 34.0 Big West innings, Chalmers has struck out a career best nine hitters in a seven-inning game four times in 2017. She struck out 10 in nine innings versus Long Beach State (April 14).
CONVISSAR ENJOYING BREAKOUT ROLE: A career .243 hitter entering the year who had batted higher than .375 at just one point during her first two seasons, junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar comes into Friday's matchup versus Hawai'i ranked second in Cal Poly's lineup with a .308 (40-for-130) batting average. Convissar, who has hit safely 27 times this season, leads Cal Poly with 12 multi-hit games.
END OF AN ERROR: The Big West's leading fielding team and ranked 78th among NCAA Division I programs with a .966 mark, Cal Poly has committed just 46 errors in 47 games (0.98 per) this season. Three of Cal Poly's regular starters – righthander Sierra Hyland, sophomore catcher Makenna Young and freshman first baseman Hailey Martin – have compiled perfect 1.000 fielding percentages. Young is a .997 career fielder with just two errors committed in 672 total chances and 92 games.
MUSTANGS MOVE RUNNERS ALONG: The Mustangs feature the Big West Conference's top four leaders in sacrifice bunts with Cal Poly having produced 74 successful sacrifices in 47 games (the second highest total belongs to Cal State Fullerton at just 35 sacrifices). Senior second baseman Ashley Tornio leads the Big West with 14 sacrifices and, as a team, Cal Poly successfully advances baserunners 48.8 (356-for-729) percent of the time.
MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2017: In what has become a hallmark of 13th-year head coach Jenny Condon's tenure, Cal Poly will again contest one of the more competitive schedules in Division I during the 2016 season. In total, seven of Cal Poly's opening 28 games occurred against programs ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll (ranking from date of game).