SAN LUIS OBISPO – Junior designated player Sierra Hyland produced a late two-run double, but the Cal Poly softball program – after conceding four runs in the top of the first inning to California – opened a Thursday doubleheader with a 5-3 loss. However, behind a complete-game, two-hitter from sophomore righthander Stephanie Heyward (above) in game No. 2, Cal Poly forced a split with a 5-0 triumph.
During Thursday's second game at Bob Janssen Field, Cal Poly (20-18) produced the winning runs in the bottom of the first inning as Heyward, junior designated player Sierra Hyland and senior first baseman Breana West each singled to load the bases. Mustang junior left fielder Courtney Tyler then lined a single into center field. Heyward scored on the hit and Hyland reached home after California center fielder Jazmyn Jackson overran the ball. Mustang senior right fielder Betsy Colburn then singled to score West for the 3-0 advantage.
Shut out in the second inning, Cal Poly returned in the third with two runs through Colburn's two-out triple off the right field wall that scored junior pinch runner Shawna McDonough and Tyler for a 5-0 lead.
Heyward (2-4) limited California (23-18-1) to one hit through the first four innings and, courtesy of double plays in the fourth and fifth, kept the Golden Bears without a baserunner past second the entire game.
Heyward faced just five batters over the minimum in earning her first career shutout and second successive victory.
During Thursday's opening game, California grabbed its 4-0 lead with no outs in the top of the first inning through a run-scoring base hit up the middle from shortstop Lindsay Rood and a three-run homer by catcher Annie Aldrete.
Held to a solitary hit during the first two innings by California starting righthander Nisa Ontiveros (9-6), Cal Poly received singles from freshman catcher Makenna Young and sophomore center fielder Amanda Sandoval en route to loading the bases with one down in the bottom of the third. Ontiveros, however, forced popups from West and Hyland to end the Cal Poly threat.
After the first inning, Mustang starting righthander Lindsey Chalmers (8-10) conceded just two hits between the second and fourth. Chalmers, however, walked the first two hitters she faced to begin the fifth before a single by designated player Taurie Pogue loaded the bases with none down. Chalmers forced a pop up from left fielder Jasmin Mejia, but a groundout by Jackson brought home right fielder Taylor Khala to increase California's lead to 5-0.
Cal Poly finally cut into California's lead in the bottom of the seventh as a Heyward single helped load the bases with one out. An infield Sandoval grounder then scored sophomore pinch runner Alina Goodrum for Cal Poly's first run before Hyland deposited a two-run double into center field for the 5-3 deficit.
Both the Mustangs and Golden Bears stranded eight runners in game No. 1.
Cal Poly resumes Big West Conference action and continues its eight-game home stand with a three-game, April 23-24 series versus CSUN. The series gets underway with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, April 23.