NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Matadors Returns Home to face 49ers
The Cal State Northridge softball team (8-32, 3-6 Big West Conference) starts a six-game homestand with three Big West Conference games against Long Beach State. On April 21, the Matadors and 49ers will play a doubleheader followed by a single game on April 22. Both days are slated to start at noon at Matador Diamond. Live stats will be available for the contest and fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates throughout the series.
Last week, Northridge took one of three games at Cal Poly and lost at No. 15 UCLA. In San Luis Obispo, the Matadors jumped out to win the first game due to the performance of junior Mia Pagano. In the circle, Pagano tossed a two-hit shutout with three strikeouts. At the plate, she hit her first career home run, a grand slam, to account for all the runs scored in a 4-0 victory.
Games two and three were closes contests where CSUN could not muster enough offense to keep up with the Mustangs. Against UCLA, Madeline Sale had two hits and scored two runs and Mikayla Thielges had two hits and two RBIs, but the Bruins' offense proved too potent for the Matadors.
The Matadors started quickly against the Bruins on a warm Wednesday afternoon. Sale led off the game with her fourth double of the season. Then with one out, Jaci Carlsen reached on a bunt single, moving Sale to third. Carlsen went to second on a wild pitch and both she and Sale scored on a two-run single by Thielges. She now leads the team with 17 RBIs on the season.
This week, CSUN gets a tough test in its return to Matador Diamond with the arrival of Long Beach State. The 49ers are 6-3 in Big West play, sitting one game behind Pacific in the standings after taking two of three games at UC Davis. They also swept Cal Poly after dropping two of three at UCSB in their opening series.
LBSU boasts arguably the conference's top pitching tandem in Taylor Petty and Erin Jones-Wesley. In Long Beach State's nine conference games, the duo have combined for a 1.63 ERA while holding opponents to a .186 batting average. Petty is 4-1 with a 1.58 ERA and a .151 batting-average against in 31 innings of conference play.
At the plate, Cya Neal leads the 49ers with a .339 batting average and 39 hits. Megan Denio (.314) and Hannah De Gaetano (.311) have combined for 25 runs, 13 extra-base hits and 30 RBIs. As a team, LBSU sports a .955 fielding percentage and has thrown out 14 of 26 would-be basestealers.
Following the games with Long Beach State, Northridge remains at home for three games against
Cal State Fullerton. The Matadors and Titans will play a doubleheader on April 28 and a single game on April 29 with both days starting at noon.
Junior Mia Pagano tossed a two-hit shutout and clubbed her first career home run, a grand slam, to lead CSUN to a 4-0 victory over Cal Poly. In the Matadors' three league series, Pagano is 3-2 with a 1.94 ERA while holding opponents to a .208 batting average in 36 innings. For the year, Pagano is 7-14 with a 3.66 ERA in 153 innings. Pagano picked up two complete game victories at Pacific and finished with a career-high eight strikeouts twice (BYU, Nevada) at the San Diego Classic I. She tossed her first career shutout and tied a then-career-high with six strikeouts in an extra-inning victory over Iowa. She ranks fifth in the Big West Conference in strikeouts (87), third in innings pitched, seventh in ERA, ninth in wins, 10th in opponent batting average (.290) and third in appearances (30). As if her performance in the circle was not enough, Pagano has started to flex some offensive muscle. Against New Mexico, Pagano set new career highs with three hits and four RBIs. For the season, she is batting .233 with four runs and 10 RBIs, all of which have come in the Matadors' last six games.
Time for Madeline
Sophomore Madeline Sale continues to lead CSUN in batting for the season, entering the series with LBSU at .271 for the season. In Big West play, Sale is batting .333 and leads the club with a .419 on-base percentage. At UCLA, she cracked her fourth double of the season and scored two runs. Sale hit .625 with a home run, a double and four RBIs in the Matadors' series victory at Pacific. She had a key two-run double in the game one victory and then added a three-hit performance that included a lead-off home run in the game three win. Sale hit her first home run of the season and second of her career in the second game of a doubleheader at LMU. She tied a career-high with three hits in the Matadors' victory over Utah State and scored a career-high two runs in the win over Fresno State. For the season, Sale has scored 14 runs and has six RBIs, two home runs, nine walks and a .363 on-base percentage.
Brianna the Elder
Redshirt freshman Brianna Elder brings a 2.42 ERA in 37.2 innings into the games against the 49ers. Since the start of league play, Elder has continued to pitch effectively for CSUN. She has a 2.33 ERA in 18 innings while also holding opponents to a .247 batting average. She had a career-high six strikeouts and eight inning pitched in an extra-innings loss to UC Davis. In her first career appearance as a Matador, Elder helped lead the club in a win over Utah State. Against the Aggies, Elder started and went 4.1 innings allowing four hits, one unearned run and one walk to go along with two strikeouts. She tossed her first complete game and allowed one earned run in eight innings of work at the Northridge Classic.
Linn-sanity Arrives at Northridge
Freshman Abby Linn has produced three two-hit games since the start of Big West play. She had a very productive weekend for CSUN in its series victory over Pacific, batting a team-high .714 in the three games. She had two hits in both games of a doubleheader on April 1 and added her fifth hit of the weekend in the finale on April 2. Her third two-hit performance came in game one against UC Davis on April 6. This has helped raise her batting average over 100 points in two weeks and she enters the weekend at .194 while also posting six walks, two stolen bases, and three runs scored.
Senior Samantha Sloniker is batting .296 in eight Big West Conference games, raising her average to .221 for the season. She leads the club with six multi-hit games, all of which were two-hit performances. She recorded two two-hit performances in the Matadors' series victory at Pacific. She had two hits in game two of a doubleheader against New Mexico on April 8 and added two more hits in the Matadors' win over Cal Poly. She had four sacrifice hits at the Cathedral City Classic and now is tied for sixth in the league with six. For the year, Sloniker has two doubles, the team's only triple and three RBIs.
Senior Jaci Carlsen blasted her first home run of the season in the finale of Northridge's three-game series at Pacific. Carlsen now has 20 home runs for her career, tying her for the seventh-most in school history. By also adding two RBIs over the weekend, Carlsen now has 85 for her career, the 10th-most in school history. Finally, Carlsen stole her eighth base of the season during the series and is now tied for fourth in school history with 37 in her career. With two more steals, Carlsen will set a new program Division-I record. Carlsen had two doubles and two stolen bases for CSUN during the Northridge Classic. She now ranks in a tie for fifth in school history with 31 doubles for her career. For the season, Carlsen is tied for eighth in the Big West Conference with her team-leading eight stolen bases and is batting .227 with 13 runs and five doubles.
Luck Be Thielges Tonight
Junior and Las Vegas native Mikayla Thielges enters the weekend with a .248 batting average after collecting two hits and two RBIs at UCLA. She hit two home runs during the Matadors' time in San Diego, giving her a team-leading six on the season and 18 for her career. In her first meeting with Utah State, she smashed a career-high two home runs, the first multi-homer game of her career. Among league players, Thielges ranks second in home runs (6). She has also been hit by a pitch 11 times this season, which is the second-most beanings in the Big West Conference.
La Reina De CSUN
Senior Alyssa Ray had two hits and scored a career-high two runs in game two of a doubleheader with New Mexico. She hit her first career home run, a two-run shot against Nevada, and finished with five RBIs during CSUN's time in San Diego. She added a two-hit, two-RBI performance in Northridge's win over Fresno State. At the Kajikawa Classic, Ray started all five games at third base and finished the weekend with a .571 batting average. She had her first career hit, an RBI ground rule double, against Nebraska and then had two hits, including another ground rule double, against Western Michigan. She ended the weekend with a double against Arizona and is second on the team with the four doubles. For the year, Ray is batting .211 with four doubles and six RBIs. She also leads all Big West Conference players with a 109 defensive assists and carries a .922 fielding percentage into the weekend.