April 17, 2013

Matadors Split with Long Beach State in Televised Doubleheader

LONG BEACH, Calif. ---

The Cal State Northridge softball team (18-26, 4-8 Big West) defeated Long Beach State 4-2 in eight innings and then fell 2-0 in the second game in a Big West Conference doubleheader at 49ers Sports Complex. In front of a nationally televised crowd on ESPNU, Tanna Bindi collected a two-run, two-out single in the top of the eighth to give the Matadors the win in game one.

Game One Recap

Tanna Bindi delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the eighth and Shelly Taitallowed just one earned run as the Matadors posted a 4-2 victory over the 49ers.

On a sunny day in Long Beach, a steady wind blew in from centerfield throughout both contests. That knocked down fly balls all day and produced two very close contests.

In the first game, Tait (8-9) was fantastic in posting her second career win over Long Beach State. She worked around five hits and one walk to allow just one earned run in a complete-game performance.

"I was just thinking make good pitches, hit my spots and rely on my defense," Tait said. "We played great and kept battling. We came up with some really big clutch hits to push past them."

In the top of the third, CSUN struck for two runs. Abby Linndropped down a bunt hit on the infield and then came around to score on an RBI double from Crystal Maas. The two-base hit was Maas' fourth in the past week and seventh of the season.

Maas then came around to score on a wild play to give the Matadors a 2-0 lead. Korinne Randazzodropped a sac bunt down, but the throw went into right field and the Maas wheeled around third to score the unearned run.

After the 49ers scored an unearned run in the third and had an RBI double in the fifth to tie the game, things looked dire for CSUN in the bottom of the seventh. A two-base error put the winning run on second to start the inning.

A sac bunt moved the 49er to third with one out. However, Tait induced a groundout to third and a pop up to second to end the threat and send the game into extra frames.

In the eighth, Randazzo was hit by a pitch and Tiffini Lucero drew a walk with one out. Mikayla Thielges then singled through the left side, but Randazzo was tagged out at the plate trying to score.

With Thielges on second and Lucero on third, Bindi fought off several foul balls to drop a single just inside the right-field line for two RBIs. Tait set down the 49ers in order in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory.

"I was just thinking I had to get a hit. I had to do something to help my team out," Bindi said. "That's what a pinch-hitter is. You come in and do your job. That was my mindset, to take a pitch and make something happen."

Game Two Recap

Two RBI sac flies were the difference as Long Beach State defeated Northridge 2-0 in the second game of the doubleheader.

The 49ers threatened out of the gate in the second game Wednesday. The 49ers loaded the bases with one out against CSUN starter Brianna Elder(2-4). However, the sophomore avoided major damage as a sac fly produced the frame's only out.

Another sac fly doubled Long Beach's run total in the fourth. CSUN managed five hits against Amanda Hansen, but could not string enough together to threaten.

The Matadors left runners in scoring position in the first and second inning and nearly mounted a seventh inning rally. Bindi singled up the middle to start the inning and was lifted for a pinch runner.

Ariana Wassmer then laced the ball sharply to right field. The ball dropped right in front of the fielder who fired to second for the force out. Another fielder's choice made it two down before Mia Pagano added another single. The rally died with the next batter, who popped out to end the contest.

Elder took the loss after going 3.1 innings with seven hits, one walk and two strikeouts. Crystal Maas tossed 1.2 innings of relief and Pagano added one inning of relief.

"Seeing these girls execute and seeing the time they put and then watching it pay off is always a plus," CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers said. "We had opportunities to take the second game. We battled all the way through the seventh inning and minor details have kept us from going that extra mile. Still, the girls have done a good job of staying in games, keeping them close and fighting until the last pitch."

Northridge returns to action on Saturday, April 20 with a Big West doubleheader against Pacific. First pitch between the Matadors and Tigers from Matador Diamond is slated for noon. The two teams will play a single game on Sunday, April 21 also at noon.

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