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Late Victory Helps Cal Poly Split Friday Season Openers

Late Victory Helps Cal Poly Split Friday Season Openers

TEMPE, Ariz. – Junior designated player Sierra Hyland (top) homered and swatted a two-run double Friday morning, but a pair of four-run innings from No. 6 Oregon sent the Cal Poly softball team to a 12-3 opening-day defeat at the Arizona State-hosted Kajikawa Classic. In game No. 2, however, Hyland matched a career high with 15 strikeouts as Cal Poly rebounded to top Georgia State, 5-4.

During Friday's second game against Georgia State – scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m., not begun until 11:30 p.m. and not finished until 1:40 a.m., – Cal Poly (1-1) pounced on the Panthers in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff batter and sophomore designated player Stephanie Heyward was hit by a pitch and after sophomore shortstop Chelsea Convissar singled, junior left fielder Courtney Tyler doubled to score Heyward.

In the circle, Hyland (1-0) struck out seven and allowed just one hit through the opening three innings before conceding a one-out home run to Panthers catcher Mandy Blackwell in the fourth.

Cal Poly regained its cushion with one out in the bottom half of the fourth as Ashley Tornio was struck with a pitch while the bases were loaded before freshman center fielder Noah Yakir earned her first career RBI with a sacrifice fly.

Georgia State tied the matchup once more at 3-3 with two runs in the fifth while a Panther error in the bottom half of the fifth provided Cal Poly a brief 4-3 advantage. Just one more half-inning later, however, Georgia State knotted the scoreline a third time as shortstop Taylor Anderson's two-out ground-rule double brought home pinch runner Cassidy Faulk for a 4-4 deadlock.

Cal Poly, however, snapped the game's third tie in the bottom of the seventh as Tyler led off with a double, moved to second through a Hyland sacrifice bunt and scored as Young singled into center field to produce the winning run.

During Friday's season opener against sixth-ranked Oregon (1-0), the Ducks struck for the game's initial run in the top of the second inning with catcher Gwen Svekis hitting a one-out solo homer.

The Ducks then added four runs in the third highlighted by run-scoring doubles from third baseman Jenna Lilley and designated player Stevie Jo Knapp.

The Mustangs answered back in the bottom of the third with their first runs of 2016. Heyward and Convissar led off with successive full-count walks and after a fielder's choice by junior left fielder Courtney Tyler forced Heyward out at third base, Hyland lined a two-run double into center field.

Still facing a 5-2 deficit, however, Cal Poly – with Heyward on in relief of starting sophomore righthander Lindsey Chalmers (0-1) – conceded a run to Oregon in the fourth on a throwing error and two during the fifth as Ducks right fielder Alyssa Gillespie and shortstop Nikki Udria each picked up run-scoring hits.

Cal Poly earned one run back in the bottom of the fifth through Hyland's two-out homer, but Oregon scored four times in the sixth to outdistance the Mustangs.

Cal Poly continues Kajikawa Classic play on Saturday, Feb. 13 versus Stanford at 4 p.m. and New Mexico at 6:30 p.m.