Matadors Travel to Santa Clara Bronco Invitational

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

Northridge Squares off with Five Different Foes over Weekend

The Cal State Northridge softball team (4-8) returns to Northern California this weekend for the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. From Feb. 22-24, the Matadors will face San Jose State, Santa Clara, Idaho State, Fresno State and Saint Mary's. CSUN's game with the Spartans will be played at SJSU Field on the campus of San Jose State while Northridge's other four games will be at SCU Softball Field on the campus of Santa Clara. Fans are encouraged to check with the CSUN Softball Twitter account (@CSUNSoftball) or the Northridge Athletics Twitter handle (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates throughout the weekend.

Last week, CSUN went 3-2 in its time at the Stanford Nike Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. Aside from a pair of losses to the host and nationally ranked Cardinal, the Matadors turned in impressive performances in defeating CSU Bakersfield twice and shutting out Santa Clara.

In the first win over the Roadrunners, CSUN posted a 2-1 victory behind timely hitting and a solid outing in the circle from Mia Pagano. Junior Leann Lopez delivered a pinch-hit RBI single to give the Matadors the lead and the Northridge defense cut down the tying run at the plate to end the game.

The victory over the Broncos saw Mikayla Thielges blast a three-run home run and Crystal Maas deliver a seven-strikeout shutout performance in the circle. Finally, Northridge hammered CSUB 8-0 in five innings behind a grand slam from senior Korinne Randazzo for its first mercy rule victory since the 2010 season.

This weekend, CSUN faces three teams it has already faced in the young season: San Jose State, Fresno State and Santa Clara. San Jose State is 5-7 on the season and defeated Northridge 6-5 on opening day at the Kajikawa Classic. Markesha Collins leads the Spartans at the plate, sporting a .486 batting average, four home runs and 12 RBIs in 12 games. Vanessa House is hitting .441 with three stolen bases and three doubles thus far. In the circle, Amanda Pridmore is 4-5 with a 5.26 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 49.2 innings of work.

Santa Clara is 0-6 on the season and batting .208 as a team. The Broncos' opponents have batted .352 and tagged Santa Clara pitching for an 8.84 ERA in 36.2 innings. The Bulldogs of Fresno State are 6-6 on the year and won both ends of a doubleheader with CSUN on Feb. 13. Paige Gumz leads Fresno State at the plate with a .345 batting average while Brenna Moss leads the club with 15 hits and eight RBIs. In the circle, Jillian Compton is 4-3 with a 3.58 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 45 innings of work.

The two new teams to Northridge this weekend should both offer challenges. Idaho State is 4-6 overall and batting .319 as a team in 64 innings of play. Vicky Galasso leads the Bengals at the plate with a .486 batting average, five home runs and 15 RBIs. In the circle, Idaho State owns a team ERA of 5.98 and Amanda Fitzsimmons is 2-5 with a 5.87 ERA and 30 K's in 47.2 innings of work.

Finally, Saint Mary's is 1-6 on the season. Sarah Lira leads the Gaels at the plate with a .273 batting average and two home runs. In the circle, Jessica Lemmon leads the team in innings pitched at 19 and is 0-3 with a 4.26 ERA and 11 strikeouts on the season.

Mama Mia!

Senior Mia Pagano continues to be a two-way threat for the Matadors in her final season with the club. In the circle, Pagano is 1-3 with a 5.39 ERA and a team-high 24.2 innings of work. She picked up her first win of the season with six strong innings and three strikeouts against CSU Bakersfield. At the plate, she carries a .194 batting average and seven base hits through the first 12 contests of the season. She also has a double, three runs and hit a three-run home run in the Matadors' 6-1 victory over Western Michigan. Last season, she finished the season 8-19 overall, but posted a 3.45 ERA, 111 K's and .289 opponent batting average and earned All-Big West Second Team honors.

Luck Be Thielges Tonight

Senior and Las Vegas native Mikayla Thielges has had a strong start to her final season at CSUN. She carries a .370 batting average, .564 on-base percentage and .741 slugging percentage through 12 games. At the Stanford Nike Invitational, Thielges batted .462 with two doubles, four RBIs and four walks. She cranked her second home run of the season, a three-run shot, in the victory over Santa Clara. She now has 21 career home runs, the seventh-most in school history, and 78 career RBIs, eight shy of moving into a tie for 10th in program history. She leads the team with four doubles, 20 total bases and eight runs scored. She also earned All-Big West First Team honors in 2011 for her work behind the plate. 

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Maas

Sophomore Crystal Maas enters the weekend batting .320 with eight base hits in her second season with the club. A two-way threat, Maas also sports a 1.62 ERA and .219 opponent batting average in 8.2 innings of work. She tossed her first career shutout, striking out a career-high seven in a 5-0 victory over Santa Clara. At the plate, Maas hit the first home run of her career in the Matadors' victory over Western Michigan. She had two hits against the Broncos. Maas also recorded her first career stolen base this season and sports a .875 fielding percentage.

Tait That Something

Senior Shelly Tait carries a 2-2 record, 2.88 ERA and .250 opponent batting average through six appearances into the weekend. She tossed five innings of one-hit softball in CSUN's 8-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield and added a save in the Matadors' 2-1 earlier victory over the Roadrunners. Tait picked up her first win of the season in the circle with a commanding performance vs. Western Michigan. She tossed 6+ innings and allowed only four hits and one unearned run in the victory over the Broncos.

Randazzo's Return

Senior Korinne Randazzo belted a grand slam, her first home run of the season, in the Matadors' 8-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield. She has started all 12 games for CSUN and sports a .217 batting average with three runs and a team-high seven RBIs on the season. She drove in  two runs in the game with California and had a season-high two hits vs. Arizona State. Randazzo also has two stolen bases this season. In 2011 during her first season with the club, she batted .197 in 45 games with three doubles, 13 runs scored, three stolen bases and four RBIs.

Burning Down the House

Sophomore Sydney House has come out of the gates swinging in her second season with the Matadors. House owns a .333 batting average, having collected six hits in 10 games. She has collected her first three career doubles and is second on the club with six RBIs. She had a career-high two hits at Fresno State and a career-high two RBIs vs. San Jose State. She also sports a .500 slugging percentage, a .435 on-base percentage and has drawn four walks for the year.

The Leann Lopez Show

Junior Leann Lopez had a strong game in the Matadors' 8-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield. She collected her first double of the season, walked twice and scored a career-high three runs. Lopez has also shown a keen eye at the plate, having drawn seven walks to give her a .500 on-base percentage on the year. For the season, Lopez is batting .182 with two RBIs, five runs scored and a stolen base.

Brianna the Elder

Sophomore Brianna Elder had an impressive performance in relief at Fresno State. Entering the first game in the first inning, Elder did not surrender a hit to the Bulldogs for the rest of the contest. In all, she went 5.2 innings with no runs, no hits and just two walks. For the season, Elder is 0-1 with a 5.50 ERA and a .361 opponent batting average. 

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Sophomore Abby Linn is batting .176 with six runs, two steals and a double through the first 12 games of the 2013 season. Linn tied a season high with two hits and two runs scored in CSUN's second win over CSU Bakersfield. She recorded her first career double in the game vs. San Jose State and scored two runs against the Spartans. In her freshman season, she finished with a .194 batting average, 13 hits, three runs scored and two stolen bases.

Tyler transfers talent to CSUN

Sophomore Jennifer Tyler carries a 5.25 ERA and an 0-2 record into the weekend. She has tossed eight innings thus far for the Matadors and picked up her first hit in Northridge uniform at Fresno State. Tyler starts her first season with the Matadors in 2013 after spending two years at Northwestern University. Injuries robbed her from playing in the 2010 season, but in 2011 she posted a 2.55 ERA in six appearances in the circle.

Newcomer Notes

The Matadors welcome four true freshmen to their roster for the 2012 season: Madalyne Handy, Samantha Jakeway, Maylynn Mitchell and Ariana Wassmer. Through 12 games, Mitchell and Wassmer have had an impact at the plate for CSUN. Wassmer is batting .231 through with two doubles and three RBIs. She has also walked three times and carries a .986 fielding percentage in 70 chances. Mitchell is batting .179 with five hits and an RBI while making 11 starts. She also sports a .950 fielding percentage in 40 defensive chances. Handy has appeared in eight games thus far and is batting .333 in three at-bats.

Walk This Way

The Matadors have shown a good deal of patience at the plate through 12 games in the 2013 season. As a team, Northridge has drawn 36 walks with Mikayla Thielges leading the squad with eight free passes. Leann Lopez is right on her heels with seven base on balls while Sydney House has four walks. Three players (Ariana Wassmer, Jennifer Tyler and Tiffini Lucero) all have three to their credit. The Matadors sport a team .321 on-base percentage through 12 games.

Lights, Camera, Action

The Matadors' doubleheader with Long Beach State on April 10, 2013 at 49ers Softball Complex will be broadcast live on ESPNU. The doubleheader will start at 1 p.m. and the two teams will complete the season series a week later with a single game at 3 p.m. also at the 49ers Softball Complex.

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