Matadors Travel to UNLV's Eller Media Stadium Tournament

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

Northridge Heads to Sin City in Homecoming for Thielges, Lucero

The Cal State Northridge softball team (5-12) ventures to Las Vegas, Nev., for six games as part of the UNLV Eller Media Stadium Tournament on the campus of the host Rebels. At the tournament, CSUN will face UNLV and New Mexico State once and then face Weber State and DePaul twice. All six games will be held at Eller Media Stadium and will feature live stats available at GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check with the CSUN Softball program's official Twitter account (@CSUNSoftball) and the CSUN Athletic Department's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates throughout the weekend.

Last week, CSUN went 1-4 during its time at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational in Santa Clara, Calif. The Matadors rallied to defeat the host Broncos when Mikayla Thielges broke the game open with a three-run double. She, and Sydney House, batted over .300 during the weekend and Shelly Tait recorded her third win of the year. 

This weekend's trip to Sin City offers a homecoming for both Thielges and fellow senior Tiffini Lucero. Since arriving on campus, Thielges has been an powerful staple of the Matador offense. She has 21 career home runs and 82 career RBIs and leads the Big West Conference with six doubles and a .536 on-base percentage this season. In her second season with the club, Lucero has provided steady defense throughout the infield and carries a .957 career fielding percentage in 231 chances.

The Matadors play six games this weekend, opening with New Mexico State and the host Rebels on Friday, Mar. 1. The Aggies are 10-5 on the season and are hitting .324 as a team in 94 innings. Both Teresa Conrad (.486) and Malena Padilla (.412) are batting over .400 in 13 games and NMSU features five other regulars batting over .300 for the season.

UNLV is 5-10 on the season and carries an even 5-5 record at home into Friday's meeting. Stefany Valentino leads the Rebels with a .368 batting average and 10 runs scored. Tayler Aleman checks in at .310 and Taler Van Acker is a .300 for the young season. In the circle, Amanda Oliveto 5-4 with a 2.64 ERA and 37 K's in 58.1 innings of work.

On Saturday, Mar. 2, the Matadors start the first of back-to-back doubleheaders with DePaul and Weber State. The Blue Demons of DePaul are 8-7 on the year and are 7-5 in neutral site games. Megan Coronado leads the squad with a .405 batting average and 15 hits while the team has batted a combined .249 for the season. In the circle, Kirsten Verdun leads the club at 5-4 with a 2.33 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 54 innings of work.

Weber State enters the weekend with a 0-8 record, and like the Matadors, without having played a game at home. The Wildcats are batting .182 with four extra base hits as a team in 53 innings. In the circle, opponents are batting .342 with 18 extra base hits in 50.1 innings of work.

Next week, CSUN opens its 2013 home schedule with a game on Tuesday, Mar. 9 against nationally ranked UCLA at 2 p.m., followed by a doubleheader vs. CSU Bakersfield at noon on Saturday, Mar. 9. 

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 .350 batting average, .536 on-base percentage and .650 slugging percentage through 17 games. She cleared the bases with a three-run double in the Matadors' comeback win at Santa Clara. 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 82 career RBIs, four shy of moving into a tie for 10th in program history. She leads the team with six doubles, 26 total bases and nine runs scored. Thielges leads the Big West in doubles and on-base percentage and ranks among the top 10 in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, RBIs, runs, total bases and walks.

Tait That Something

Senior Shelly Tait carries a 3-3 record, 2.36 ERA and .244 opponent batting average through eight appearances into the weekend. Although she was the losing pitcher, Tait set new career highs with 9.2 innings and seven strikeouts against Saint Mary's. She earned her third win of the season with a strong performance at Santa Clara. Tait 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. Tait ranks among the league's top 10 in ERA, opposing batting average, wins and strikeouts.

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 her first four career doubles and also being tied for second on the club with eight 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 .467 slugging percentage, a .447 on-base percentage and has drawn seven walks for the year.

A Rolling Stone Gathers no Maas

Sophomore Crystal Maas enters the weekend batting .268 with 11 base hits in her second season with the club. A two-way threat, Maas also sports a 3.34 ERA and .204 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 and has tied a career high with two hits in three different games. Maas also recorded her first career stolen base this season and sports a .923 fielding percentage.

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 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA and a team-high 32.2 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 .195 batting average and eight base hits on the season. She also has a double, four 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.

Randazzo's Return

Senior Korinne Randazzo has started all 17 games for CSUN and sports a .189 batting average with six runs and eight RBIs on the season. She belted a grand slam, her first home run of the season, in the Matadors' 8-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield. She drove in  two runs in the game with California and had a season-high two hits vs. Arizona State. Randazzo also has three 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. 

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Sophomore Abby Linn is batting .204 with eight runs, four stolen bases and three doubles through the first 17 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.

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 .400 on-base percentage on the year. For the season, Lopez is batting .196 with two RBIs, seven 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 4.75 ERA and a .311 opponent batting average.

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 17 games, Mitchell and Wassmer have had an impact at the plate for CSUN. Wassmer is batting .176 through with two doubles and three RBIs. She has also walked three times and carries a .989 fielding percentage in 87 chances. Mitchell is batting .190 with eight hits and three RBIs while making 16 starts. She also sports a .937 fielding percentage in 63 defensive chances. Handy has appeared in 10 games thus far and is batting .250 in eight at-bats with a run scored.

Walk This Way

The Matadors have shown a good deal of patience at the plate through 17 games in the 2013 season. As a team, Northridge has drawn 46 walks, the second-most free passes in the Big West. Mikayla Thielges leads the squad with 10 free passes, ranking second in the league. Leann Lopez and Sydney House are right on her heels with eight base on balls. CSUN has also been hit by a pitch 10 times, the second-most in the conference. Thielges has been plunked six times already this season. As a team, Northridge spots a team on-base percentage of .310 through 17 games. 

We're All Making Sacrifices around Here

Through 17 games, the Matadors have recorded 17 sac bunts to tie for the conference lead. Ariana Wassmer, Korinne Randazzo and Tanna Bindi all have three on the season, tying for third in the Big West. Six other players have at least one to their credit and two (Mia Pagano, Leann Lopez) have two.

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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