The Cal Poly softball team opened Big West Conference action with a doubleheader sweep Saturday over visiting UC Santa Barbara with 4-1 and 3-1 victories at Bob Janssen Field.
Senior right-hander Sierra Hyland struck out 10 in the opener. Junior right-hander Lindsey Chalmers struck out five, and Hyland recording her program-record sixth career save in the second game.
Both Hyland and junior shortstop Chelsea Convissar finished with a team leading three combined hits on Saturday for Cal Poly, which opened Big West play with successive victories for the first time since 2008.
Hyland didn’t allow a baserunner past second until the fifth, when the Gauchos advanced two into scoring position with two down. Hyland, however, struck out left fielder Kristen Clark to keep the matchup a stalemate.
Convissar doubled to lead off the fifth and, after second baseman Ashley Tornio produced a sacrifice bunt, third baseman Stephanie Heyward drove in the go-ahead run by singling up the middle to bring home Convissar. Senior left fielder Courtney Tyler doubled Cal Poly’s lead later in the inning with a sacrifice fly to score Tornio.
Hyland conceded her only run in the top of the sixth as Gaucho first baseman Whitney Pemberton mustered a one-out sacrifice fly to plate shortstop Melanie Menor. Cal Poly, however, regained its two-run cushion in the bottom half as a throwing error by Gaucho starting right-hander Veronika Gulvin helped score freshman pinch runner Alyssa McKiernan. Heyward then earned RBI No. 2 with a sac fly that brought home Convissar for the 4-1 advantage.
Hyland, who chalked up her seventh double-digit strikeout game of 2017, retired the Gauchos in order during the top of the seventh to close out the win.
During Saturday’s second victory, Cal Poly broke through against Gaucho starting right-hander Ashley Wright (1-1) in the bottom of the third when Convissar and Heyward singled to put runners at the corners. Hyland drove a hit up the the middle to deliver Cal Poly a 1-0 advantage.
Cal Poly scored again on a UCSB error in the fifth and then an RBI double by Crimson Kaiser. Hyland earned her sixth career save to move past Eva Nelson (2002-05) for the top spot in program history.
Cal Poly closes its three-game series against UC Santa Barbara at 1 p.m. Sunday.