CSUN Softball Opens Big West Season versus No. 20 Hawai’i

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

Matadors Host Rainbow Wahine to Start League Play

The Cal State Northridge softball team (14-18) hosts No. 20 Hawai'i in both team's Big West Conference opening series this weekend at Matador Diamond. The Matadors and Rainbow Wahine will play a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday, Mar. 23, then meet again the next day for a single game also at noon. All three contests will feature live stats available at GoMatadors.com and fans are also encouraged to check with the CSUN Softball's official Twitter account (@CSUNSoftball) for in-game updates throughout the weekend.

Last weekend, the Matadors went 4-2 in six home games. They defeated Northern Illinois, LMU and Seattle twice at Matador Diamond. In its first victory over the SU Redhawks, CSUN collected a season-high 10 run and 13 hits behind a four-hit performance from senior Korinne Randazzo and a four-RBI outing from fellow senior Mikayla Thielges. In the six games, Randazzo batted .500, collecting nine hits and eight runs scored. 

In the circle, Mia Pagano picked up wins over Northern Illinois and Seattle while Shelly Tait recorded victories over Seattle and LMU. In fact, the win over the Lions was the Matadors' first in the series since 2006. At 14-18 through 32 games, the Matadors have already recorded four more wins than they had in all of the 2012 season.

This week, CSUN gets another crack at a nationally ranked opponent in the form of the 20th-ranked Rainbow Wahine. This series will be the first between the Matadors and Rainbow Wahine in the Big West Conference. Hawai'i enters the weekend with a 22-7 overall record that includes a 19-4 mark at home. In fact, these three games with the Matadors represents the first true road games for the Rainbow Wahine.

In the circle, Kaia Parnaby earned the program's first USA Softball National Player of the Week honors on Monday and is 20-3 on the season with a 0.98 ERA in 163.2 innings. She has 214 strikeouts and has held opponents to a .166 batting average on the year. Hawai'i has two other pitchers on staff who have combined to make five starts and toss 39 innings in the circle.

At the plate, Hawai'i carries a .248 team batting average and .343 on-base percentage into the weekend. The Rainbow Wahine have collected 35 doubles, four triples and 33 home runs on the season. Kelly Majam leads the club with a .310 batting average and 25 runs scored. The senior adds nine home runs, 18 RBIs and a .690 slugging percentage and a .453 on-base percentage.

After having next weekend off, the Matadors will hit the road for their first conference series of the season at UC Davis. The Matadors and Aggies play a doubleheader at UC Davis on April 6 and a single game on April 7.

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 .363 batting average, .519 on-base percentage and .713 slugging percentage through 32 games. In the Matadors' six home games last week, she batted .375 with five RBIs and her team-leading sixth home run of the season. She now has 25 home runs in her career, the sixth-most in school history. At the tournament in Las Vegas, she batted .444 with four doubles, two home runs and three RBIs. At the Stanford Nike Invitational, Thielges batted .462 with two doubles, four RBIs and four walks. She also has 91 career RBIs, the eighth-most in program history. For the season, Thielges has 17 runs, 10 doubles, 18 RBIs, 57 total bases and two stolen bases. Thielges leads the Big West in doubles, slugging percentage, hit by pitches and on-base percentage and is second total bases. She also ranks among the top 10 in batting average, runs scored, hits, RBIs, home runs, walks and leads all catchers with 10 runners caught stealing.

Mama Mia! 

Senior Mia Pagano went 2-1 in the circle and picked up wins over Seattle and Northern Illinois. Last week, she was named Big West Pitcher of the Week after she picked up a pair of impressive victories for CSUN last week, including a complete-game performance in the Matadors' win over UCLA. She added 6.1 innings with one earned run and a season-high seven strikeouts against CSUB. For the season, Pagano is 7-6 with a 2.99 ERA, 46 K's and a team-high 84.1 innings of work. She also has held opponents to a .258 batting average on the year. In Las Vegas, Pagano earned complete game victories over New Mexico State and DePaul, allowing just five earned runs in 14 innings. She ranks among the league's top 10 pitchers in wins, strikeouts, appearances and innings pitched. At the plate, she carries a .200 batting average with four doubles, seven RBIs, five runs. She hit a three-run home run in the Matadors' 6-1 victory over Western Michigan and had three doubles in and a .400 batting average during the Matadors' six games last week.

Tait That Something

Senior Shelly Tait carries a 6-6 record, 2.50 ERA, 40 K's and .250 opponent batting average through 15 appearances into the week. Last week, Tait earned wins over Seattle and LMU, the Matadors' first victory against the Lions since the 2006 season. In Las Vegas, Tait tossed her second shutout of the season in a victory over Weber State, striking out a career-high nine batters in the victory. In the Santa Clara tournament, Tait set a new career high with 9.2 innings 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, wins, innings pitched, opposing batting average and strikeouts.

Burning Down the House

Sophomore Sydney House has come out of the gates swinging in her second season with the Matadors. For the season, House owns a .275 batting average, having collected six doubles and 16 RBIs, which ranks 10th in the Big West. The six doubles tie her with five others for fifth in the league. At the tournament in Las Vegas, House cranked her first career home run and finished with a career-high four RBIs in the victory over Weber State. She had a career-high two hits at Fresno State and two RBIs vs. San Jose State. She also sports a .406 slugging percentage, a .366 on-base percentage and has drawn 11 walks for the year.

Randazzo's Return

Senior Korinne Randazzo batted a scorching .500 during the Matadors' week against Northern Illinois, Seattle and LMU. She added eight runs, two doubles, an RBI and three stolen bases during the six games. She had a career-high four hits in the first win over Seattle and then tied a career high with three runs scored in the second victory over the Redhawks. In the win over Northern Illinois, she stole two bases for the second time this season. She also had a strong weekend at the plate for CSUN in Las Vegas. She batted .385 with two doubles, six walks and three stolen bases in the six games. Randazzo leads the Matadors and ranks tied for fourth in the Big West with 11 stolen bases on the year. She belted a grand slam, her first home run of the season, in the Matadors' 8-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield. For the year, Randazzo is batting .333 with 20 runs, six doubles, a home run, nine RBIs, 12 walks, five sac bunts and a .451 on-base percentage. She ranks among the Big West Top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage, runs, doubles, walks and sac bunts.

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Sophomore Abby Linn is batting .205 with 12 runs, seven stolen bases and three doubles in 31 games in 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. Her seven steals have come in seven different games and also has four sac bunts.

A Rolling Stone Gathers no Maas

Sophomore Crystal Maas enters the weekend batting .250 with 15 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, Mass collected a season-high two RBIs in CSUN's win over Weber State. She 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 .906 fielding percentage.

Brianna the Elder

Sophomore Brianna Elder tossed 2.2 innings of one-hit softball against DePaul in Las Vegas. She also turned in 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 0-2 with a 3.99 ERA and a .321 opponent batting average in 26.1 innings of work.

Newcomer Notes

The Matadors welcome four true freshmen to their roster for the 2012 season: Madalyne Handy, Samantha Jakeway, Maylynn Mitchell and Ariana Wassmer. While Jakeway is unlikely to play this season due to injury, Handy, Mitchell and Wassmer have made immediate impacts in the field and at the plate. Mitchell is batting .263 with six runs, three doubles and nine RBIs. She tied a season high with two RBIs in the first win over Seattle and had a season-high three hits and two RBIs in the Matadors' win over Weber State. She has also been hit by a pitch seven times, the third-most beanings in the Big West Conference. Handy had a nice week at the plate in the games against Northern Illinois, Seattle and LMU. She batted .308 in the six games and had a season-high two hits, two runs and two RBIs in the first victory over the Redhawks. For the season, Handy is batting .240 with six runs, three RBIs and two sac bunts. Wassmer enters the week batting .175 for the season with four doubles and six RBIs. She has had a season-high two hits twice, has as many walks as strikeouts and has three sacrifice bunts.

Walk This Way

The Matadors have shown a good deal of patience at the plate through 32 games in the 2013 season. As a team, Northridge has drawn 82 walks, the third-most free passes in the Big West. Mikayla Thielges leads the squad with 15 free passes, ranking third in the league. Korinne Randazzo drew six walks in six games in Las Vegas and now has 12 on the year, which second on the team and tied for seventh in the conference. Sydney House has drawn 11 free passes and Leann Lopez is right on their heels with nine base on balls. CSUN has also been hit by a pitch 35 times, the most in the conference. Thielges has been plunked 11 times, tying for the most in the conference, while Maylynn Mitchell has been hit seven times. As a team, Northridge spots a team on-base percentage of .330 through 32 games.

We're All Making Sacrifices Around Here

Through 32 games, the Matadors have recorded 38 sac bunts to lead the Big West Conference. Korinne Randazzo leads the team with five sac bunts while Leann Lopez, Abby Linn, Tanna Bindi all have four. Mikayla Thielges, Ariana Wassmer and Mia Pagano each have three to their credit. Five other Matadors have at least one to their credit and Northridge has executed a sac bunt 19 more times than their opponents (35-16).

Double Your Pleasure

Through 32 games, the Matadors have smashed a league-leading 42 doubles. Setting the pace for Northridge is senior MIkayla Thielges, who leads the Big West Conference with 10 doubles. Korinne Randazzo and Sydney House are second on the team and tied for fifth in the league with six on the season and six other players have at least two on the season. Surprisingly, all the extra-base hits have yet to lead to a triple for CSUN, the only team in the conference without a three-base hit.

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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