CSUN Hosts Cal State Fullerton in Big West Series at Matador Diamond

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

Matadors Continue Slate of Home Games with Titans

The Cal State Northridge softball team (9-34, 4-8 Big West Conference) hosts Cal State Fullerton in a three-game series at Matador Diamond on April 28-29. The Matadors and Titans will play a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a single game on Sunday with both days slated to start at noon. Live stats will be available for all three games and an internet-only broadcast featuring Eldrick Bone will be available for the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday. Fans are also encouraged to check the CSUN athletic department's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for updates throughout the series. 

Last week, CSUN took one of three games from Long Beach State in a league series at home. After Long Beach won a seesaw battle in game one of a doubleheader, the Matadors rallied behind starting pitcher Shelly Tait to pull out a 2-1 victory in the second game. Tait scattered five hits with no walks to earn her first win of the season. Northridge scored the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on an 49er error. 

Although CSUN dropped the finale of the series to LBSU, Northridge continued to see solid productivity from freshman Madeline Sale. She extended her hitting streak to a team-best nine games with a ground-rule, two-run double. 

This week, Northridge sets its sights on Cal State Fullerton, a team that enters the weekend with a 17-24 overall record and a 5-7 mark in conference play. The Titans lost a home series to UC Riverside last weekend, dropping two of three games to the Highlanders. 

Nicole Johnson leads the Fullerton offense, carrying a .355 batting average and .464 on-base percentage into the weekend. She leads the Titans with 12 doubles, seven home runs and a .731 slugging percentage. Ashley Carter (.341) and Leesa Harris (.315) are also having solid seasons at the plate, combining for 81 hits, 39 runs and 21 RBIs. Anissa Young, a transfer from LSU, has seven home runs and a team-high 28 RBIs this year. 

In the circle, Desiree Ybarra and Katey Laban have seen all the action in the circle since the start of league play. For the season, Ybarra is 11-13 with a 4.63 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 145 innings of work. Laban is 1-4 with a 5.57 ERA in 27.2 innings of work. Against Big West opposition, Ybarra is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 49.1 innings of work. In 12 Big West games, opponents have hit .330 against Fullerton pitching. 

Next week, Northridge takes its final roadtrip of the 2012 season when it heads to UC Riverside for a Big West Conference series. The Matadors and Highlanders will play a doubleheader on Saturday, May 5 and a single game on Sunday, May 6 with both days slated for a noon start.

Following the series with the Highlanders, Northridge will host UC Santa Barbara on the final weekend of the season. The Matadors and Gauchos will play a doubleheader on Friday, May 11 and a single game on Saturday, May 12 with both days starting at noon at Matador Diamond. 

Time for Madeline

Sophomore Madeline Sale continues to lead CSUN in batting for the season, entering the series with Cal State Fullerton at .282 for the season and a team-best nine-game hitting streak. In Big West play, Sale is batting .351 and is second on the club with a .429 on-base percentage. In the series against Long Beach State, she hit .400 and had a two-run, ground-rule double. 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 launched a lead-off home run in the game three win over Pacific, the Matadors' only league series victory in 2012. Sale hit her first home run of the season and second of her career 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 a team-high 15 runs and has nine RBIs, two home runs, five, doubles, nine walks, and a .370 on-base percentage.

Mama Mia!

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 3-3 with a 2.22 ERA while holding opponents to a .225 batting average in 41 innings. For the year, Pagano is 7-15 with a 3.68 ERA in 158 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, eighth in ERA, ninth in wins, 10th in opponent batting average (.291) and third in appearances (31). 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 .242 with four runs and 10 RBIs, all of which have come in the Matadors' last nine games. 

Reno 911 

Senior Jaci Carlsen has moved up the ranks of some of the school's all-time greats after recording an RBI and a stolen base in the series against Long Beach State. She now has 87 RBIs on the season, tying her with two former teammates (Tracy Allen, Christina Saenz) for eighth in school history. Carlsen also recorded her team-leading ninth steal of the season against LBSU, giving her 38 for her career. That figure ties her with former teammate Jennifer Mosier for third in school history and the most in the program's Division-I history. 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. 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 eighth in the Big West Conference with her nine stolen bases and is batting .219 with 14 runs and five doubles.

Tait That Something

Junior Shelly Tait picked up her first win as a Matador in Northridge's 2-1 victory over Long Beach State on April 21. In a complete game effort, Tait scattered five hits and allowed one earned run without walking a batter. For the season, Tait is 1-4 with a 5.58 ERA and a .278 opponent batting average in 26.1 innings of work. Against Big West opposition, she is 1-2 with a 4.57 ERA in 15.1 innings of work. 

Brianna the Elder

Redshirt freshman Brianna Elder brings a 2.73 ERA in 43.2 innings into the games against the 49ers. Since the start of league play, Elder has continued to pitch effectively for CSUN. She has a 2.92 ERA in 24 innings while also holding opponents to a .283 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. Among league players, Elder ranks fifth in ERA. 

Sloniker's Story

Senior Samantha Sloniker is batting .243 in 11 Big West Conference games, raising her average to .211 for the season. She is second on 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 is sixth in the league with eight on the season. For the year, Sloniker also has two doubles, the team's only triple and she has scored seven runs. 

Luck Be Thielges Tonight

Junior and Las Vegas native Mikayla Thielges enters the weekend with a .248 batting average and .422 on-base percentage. She collected two hits and two RBIs at UCLA and leads the team with 18 RBIs on the season. 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 tied for fourth in home runs (6) and checks in at eighth with a .422 on-base percentage. She has also been hit by a pitch 15 times this season, which is the 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 116 defensive assists and carries a .922 fielding percentage into the weekend.

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