March 2, 2012

CSUN Topples Fresno State in First Day at San Diego Classic I

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge softball team (2-15) split its its first day at the San Diego Classic I in Santee, Calif., at the Santee Sportsplex. In its first game of the day, CSUN could not hold off a BYU rally and lost 4-1. In the second game, Northridge jumped out to an early lead and held on to defeat Fresno State, 8-5.

Facing the Bulldogs in their second game of the day, the Matadors scored five runs in the first inning off of Fresno State starter Mackenzie Oakes. Madeline Sale started things when she led off the game by reaching on an error and Jaci Carlsen and Mikayla Thielges strung together consecutive singles to load the bases. 

Alyssa Ray then belted a two-run single up the middle to score Sale and Carlsen and give CSUN a 2-0 lead. Leann Lopez added a sac fly and Jessica Fridwall and Tanna Bindi each had run-scoring singles to give the Matadors an early 5-0 advantage.

After Fresno State pulled back two runs in its half of the first, CSUN answered with two more runs in the second. Sale reached on a one-out walk and with two down, Thielges blasted her team-leading fifth home run of the season to center. 

CSUN would add its eighth and final run in the top of the fourth. With one out, Carlsen singled and then stole both second and third base. Thielges drove her home with an RBI single. Carlsen leads the team with five steals and tied for fifth in school history with 34 in her career. Thielges has a team-high 11 RBIs and is now 10th in school history with 17 career home runs. 

From there, CSUN flashed the defense and turned several double plays to keep the Bulldogs' bats from completing the comeback. Northridge turned two to end both the fifth and sixth innings. 

Fresno State scored two runs in the seventh, but the tying run flew out to center to end the game.

Mia Pagano earned the win for the Matadors, going the final 3.1 innings. She scattered four hits and allowed only those two runs in the seventh.

In their second game of the season against the Cougars, Northridge put together a much stronger effort against a team that had defeated them 11-1 earlier in the season. Pagano continued to lead the Matadors from the pitching circle. Although she took the loss after allowing nine hits and four runs, she finished with a career-high eight strikeouts. 

BYU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and then moved ahead 2-1 in the top of the sixth. That frame saw CSUN score its only run of the game, an RBI single by Jaci Carlsen that scored Samantha Sloniker

The Cougars would add two more in the top of the seventh. Tori Almond earned the win for BYU.