Matadors Rally to Post Saturday Sweep over Pacific
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge softball team (20-26, 6-8 Big West) defeated Pacific 3-1 and 5-4 (8 innings) Saturday afternoon in a Big West Conference doubleheader at Matador Diamond. In game one, Shelly Tait did not allow an earned run in a complete game and Tanna Bindi had a key two-run triple. In game two, the Matadors rallied from a 3-0 deficit to post a 5-4 extra-inning victory to clinch the series with the Tigers.
Tait, who started her collegiate career at Pacific and pitched the 2010 season with the Tigers, actually picked up wins in both contests to raise her season record to 10-9. In all, she totaled 8.1 innings with eight hits, one unearned run and three strikeouts on Saturday.
"The team came out ready to have my back and we fought every step of the way and every inning," Tait said. "It was full team effort in both games. We have got into a groove as far as pitch calling and defense and it's more about hitting spots than trying to overpower people."
At the plate, Bindi also produced the game-winning RBI in the second contest. She pushed a suicide squeeze towards first base in the bottom of the eighth. She had two hits and three RBIs in the two games Saturday.
"With the triple, I went up there looking for a pitch I could work with and drive. My teammates did a good job of getting on base for me so we could score some runs," Bindi said. "Coach Ball and had I gameplan that this was going to happen and I just got my mind set. Tiffini got a great jump and it worked out."
Game One Recap
The Matadors scored a 3-1 victory over the Tigers due to a strong performance in the circle from Shelly Tait.
Tait (9-9) allowed just one unearned run and worked around seven hits and two walks. She added two strikeouts in her complete game.
After Pacific scored a run in in the top of the fourth, CSUN struck for three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Crystal Maasstarted the inning with a single and then moved to second on a sac bunt by Korinne Randazzo. Tiffini Lucero drew a walk and with two outs, Bindi laced the Matadors' first triple of the season down the right-field line.
Both Maas and Lucero scored on Bindi's triple. Maylynn Mitchell then blasted a single off the pitcher that allowed Bindi to score.
Tait slammed the door on Pacific in the seventh after the first two Tigers reached safely. She retired the next three batters to preserve the victory.
Nikki Armagost allowed eight hits with two walks in taking the loss.
Game Two Recap
Game two was a wild affair with the Matadors rallying from 3-0 and the Tigers producing a game-tying run with two outs in the top of the seventh. However, CSUN put runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom of the eighth before Bindi's winning bunt to prevail 5-4.
Pacific again struck first, tagging CSUN starter Mia Pagano for three runs and four hits in the top of the third. Alexa Limon came in during the inning and provided steady relief to give the Matadors a chance to claw back into the contest.
CSUN got one run back in the bottom of the fourth. Abby Linn and Mia Pagano put together consecutive singles with one out and Maas reached on an error to load the bases. Randazzo was hit by a pitch to earn a tough RBI and cut the Pacific lead to 3-1.
Northridge got another run in the bottom of the fifth. Mikayla Thielges was hit by a pitch to start the frame and Madalyne Handyreplaced her as a pinch runner. Tanna Bindi dropped down a sac bunt to move Handy to second and Maylynn Mitchell drew a walk.
A Pacific error on a foul out allowed the two runners to move into scoring position and that allowed Abby Linn to drop an RBI bunt single to draw the Matadors within 3-2.
Northridge took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Crystal Maas started the frame with a single and Randazzo reached on an error. Tiffini Lucero dropped a sac bunt to put the two in scoring position and both came around to score on a two-run single from Thielges.
Pacific would rally for a two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to send the game in extra innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, Randazzo started the inning with a single and then moved to second on a failed pick off attempt. Lucero then dropped a bunt single and stole second to put two in scoring position with no outs. A groundout cut Randazzo down a the plate before Bindi's dramatic bunt brought home the winning run.
Tait (10-9) tossed 1.2 innings of relief with two hits, one walk and a strikeout. Carly Mortensen took the loss for Pacific, allowing six hits and four runs in 3.1 innings of work.
"I think overall we hit the ball pretty well," CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers said. "Our pitchers kept us in the game and we came out ready and prepared to play. Tanna is a great bunter and she had squeezed for us once already this year. She's been seeing the ball well and Tiffini got a great jump at third. They did a good job of executing it."
The Matadors and Tigers will play the third and final game of the series on Sunday, April 21. First pitch is slated for noon and any fans wearing pink will receive free admission.