Matadors and Titans Split Saturday Twinbill

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

The Cal State Northridge softball team (10-35, 5-9 Big West) split a Big West Conferene doubleheader with Cal State Fullerton Saturday afternoon at Matador Diamond. In game one, CSUN slugged its way to a 5-2 victory behind four doubles, a home run and a solid pitching performance from Mia Pagano. In game two, Mikayla Thielges hit her seventh home run of the season to give CSUN an early lead, but the Titans responded with three home runs of their own to take a 7-2 victory. 

In game one, senior Samantha Sloniker had a career-high three hits, including two doubles to lead a balanced Matador attack. Madeline Sale, who had hits in both games to extend her hitting streak to 11, had a two-run home run and Alyssa Ray also had two RBIs. 

Northridge scored in the first on a two-run, two-out double by Thielges that scored Sloniker. The Matadors added a second run in the second when Ray executed a perfect suicide squeeze to score Jessica Fridwall.

Sale homered fourth and raised her season total to 11 RBIs. The Matadors added a run in the fifth when Ray drew a bases loaded walk. She now has nine RBIs on the year. 

The Titans did not go quietly in the seventh. Brianna Elder replaced Pagano in the circle and promptly served up a walk and a two-run home run. Pagano re-entered, worked herself out of a tough jam and eventually recorded her 13th complete game of the year. 

In her seven innings of work, Pagano (8-15) scattered five hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Katey Laban (1-5) took the loss for Cal State Fullerton, allowing five runs and six hits in 4.1 innings of work. 

In game two, Northridge went ahead 2-0 in the first on Thielges' team-leading seventh home run of the season. Sloniker scored on the play and Thielges now has a team-leading 21 RBIs on the season. 

That remained the score until the fourth, when the Titans took advantage of a throwing error and an illegal pitch to score twice. In the sixth, CSUF hit back-to-back home runs off Matador starter Shelly Tait to chase her from the circle. 

In the seventh, Alexa Limon gave up a three-run home run as Cal State Fullerton extended its lead to 7-2. In its half of the inning, CSUN tried to rally as the first two batters reached safely. However, the Titans turned a double play and got a fly out to end the game. 

Tait (1-5) gave up five hits and three earned runs in 5.0 innings of work. Desiree Ybarra (12-13) tossed a complete game and scattered six hits to go with three strikeouts. 

The teams will play for the season series Sunday with a game at noon at Matador Diamond.