Lopez, Hyland Named Softball Players of the Week
Nicole Lopez earned MVP honors at a tournament, and Sierra Hyland tied the Big West career strikeouts record as the duo secured this week’s softball accolades.
Lopez Selected MVP Of Rainbow Wahine Classic
Posting team-highs in batting average and hits, Hawai‘i sophomore Nicole Lopez (Aiea, O’ahu, Hawai‘i/Mid-Pacific Institute) turned in an MVP-worthy performance and captured Big West Softball Field Player of the Week honors.
Lopez did, in fact, receive Most Valuable Player recognition of the Hawai‘i Pacific Health Rainbow Wahine Classic after leading the team to a 6-1 record, including wins in the last six games. She hit .550 with 11 hits in 20 at-bats, recording four multi-hit and three multi-RBI games.
The third baseman also played stellar defense, committing no errors with seven put-outs and 18 assists.
At the plate, Lopez did some damage with five extra base hits among the 11 total she collected, including three doubles and two home runs. That helped her record a team-high 1.000 slugging percentage.
Lopez tallied two doubles and two RBI as part of a 3-for-4 performance at the dish in UH’s 7-0 win over Harvard. She went 2-for-3 with a stolen base in a 2-1 triumph over Purdue, and followed with another 2-for-3 effort in a 4-1 victory against Connecticut. Against the Huskies, she clubbed her third two-bagger of the tournament and finished with a run scored.
In a 10-2 win over Harvard, Lopez slammed a two-run, opposite field home run to right-center as the Rainbow Wahine won by mercy rule. She homered again in the tourney finale, a 4-1 win over Purdue, a two-run shot that marked her seventh of the season. It was UH’s 25th of the season, which tied the team total for all of 2016.
Others nominated: Stephanie Heyward (Cal Poly); Ariana Williams (Cal State Fullerton); Taylor Glover (CSUN); Lauren MacLeod (Long Beach State); Alexis Carney (UC Davis); Jenna Curtan (UC Riverside); Sierra Altmeyer (UC Santa Barbara)
Hyland Adds To Record Awards Haul
Cal Poly senior Sierra Hyland’s (Visalia, Calif./El Diamante HS) illustrious career continues, as the right-hander went 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA for her third consecutive Big West Softball Pitcher of the Week award.
It was also her fourth award in six weeks, and her 15th career Pitcher of the Week honor. That tied her for the all-time record with Erin Jones-Wesley, who initially garnered 15 citations with Long Beach State from 2011-14.
Combining the 15 pitcher citations with two additional Field Player of the Week mentions, Hyland’s 17 career accolades represent the most of any Big West athlete, in any sport.
Hyland struck out 40 hitters in 29.1 innings across five appearances, walking only two and posting a .117 opponent batting average. Two of her victories in the circle came against No. 9 Oklahoma at the LMU Tournament. She threw two complete games against the Sooners in identical 3-1 victories. In the first go-around, she tossed a one-hitter with no walks and nine strikeouts. The second time, Hyland yielded six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
She started off the week by striking out 16 Northern Colorado hitters in an eight-inning, 2-1 victory. She gave up two hits and one walk in that appearance.
In a season where Hyland already has set Cal Poly career program records for strikeouts, victories, appearances, starts and innings pitched, she added another milestone to her list of accolades. With 10 combined strikeouts during Sunday’s victories versus Sacramento State and Dartmouth, Hyland equalled the Big West career record of 846 strikeouts initially set by UC Santa Barbara’s Jennifer Davis.
Others nominated: Kelsey Kessler (Cal State Fullerton); Daphne Pofek (CSUN); Katie Kibby (UC Davis); Anessa Cepeda (UC Riverside); Brittany Hitchcock (Hawai‘i)