CSUN Heads to Las Vegas for Five Games in Easton Classic

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

Northridge Gets Crack at No. 1 Florida, No. 10 Oregon in Las Vegas

The Cal State Northridge softball team (3-2) heads to Las Vegas for five games as part of the Easton Desert Classic hosted by UNLV. At the event, CSUN will face Boise State, Ohio State, Florida, Toledo and Oregon. All five Matador games will be played at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park in Henderson, Nev. Fans are also encouraged to keep tabs on the squad throughout the weekend by checking in with the Softball program's official Twitter account (@CSUNSoftball) for updates throughout the weekend and entire 2014 season. Several contests will feature live stats available on GoMatadors.com.

Last week, CSUN went 3-2 in its five games at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Matadors batted a robust .329 as a team over the five contests and picked up victories over Oregon State, Seattle and Colorado State. The victory over the Beavers, a 3-2 decision, saw junior Brianna Elder strike out a career-high 11 batters in a complete-game victory. The win also marked CSUN's second win vs. the Pac-12 since 2007 and gave it wins in successive seasons vs. the conference.

This week, CSUN gets a slate of five games that are sure to test its luck in the desert oasis of Las Vegas. Boise State enters the weekend 1-4 overall after also competing at the Kajikawa Classic. The Broncos are batting .261 as a team and are led by Tara Glover's .467 average, five stolen bases and three runs scored. Jordan Kreiger checks in at .417 with a home run and four RBIs. In the circle, the Broncos own a team ERA of 7.50 in 30 innings of work. Rebecca Patton is 1-2 with a 7.47 ERA and eight strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work. CSUN Softball is 0-2 in the all-time series with Boise State.

The Ohio State University also enters the weekend at 1-4 overall. Caitlin Conrad is batting .500 through the first five games of 2014 and already has six extra-base hits and five RBIs. Erika Leonard is hitting .429 with three extra-base hits and four RBIs and the squad checks in at .255 as a whole. In the circle, Alex DiDomenico is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 12 K's in 11.2 innings of work. As a team, Ohio State owns a 1.98 ERA and held its first five foes to a .206 batting average. The Matadors own a 10-4 advantage in the all-time series with the Buckeyes and last defeated them in 2011.

The No. 1 Florida Gators are CSUN's first opponent Saturday morning in Las Vegas. The Gators are already 6-0 on the year and have held opponents to a .165 batting average in those six contests. Lauren Heager, Delanie Gourley and Hannah Rogers are all 2-0 on the year and have combined for 45 strikeouts in 41 innings. Offensively, Taylor Schwartz paces the club with a .500 average, eight runs scored and four extra-base hits. CSUN actually leads the all-time series with Florida 4-3, but the Gators have won the last three. The Matadors' last win in the series came in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

Toledo has yet to play a game in 2014 and plays its first five in Las Vegas. In 2013, the Rockets finished 17-36 overall and 8-14 in the Mid-American Conference. Jessica Lemieux batted a team-high .371 with nine doubles and 21 RBIs and as a team, the Rockets stole 74 bases in 2013. In the circle, Marla Gooding returns after posting an 11-23 overall record with a 4.41 ERA and 101 K's in 238 innings of work. CSUN is 3-0 vs. Toledo on the softball diamond, but the teams have not faced each other since 1992.

The No. 10 Oregon Ducks are CSUN's final opponent in Las Vegas. After dropping their season opener to Cal Poly, the Ducks responded with four-straight wins at the Kajikawa Classic. As a team, Oregon is batting .343 through its first five games with Courtney Ceo's .579 clip pacing the squad. Ceo also has three extra-base hits and six steals already in 2014. In the circle, Cheridan Hawkins is 3-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a .127 opponent batting average in 16.2 innings of work. Oregon leads the all-time series 11-8 with CSUN's last victory coming in 2003.

Next week, the Matadors head to the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. At the prestigious event, CSUN will square off with New Mexico, Texas A&M, Long Island-Brooklyn, Oklahoma State and UNLV in the desert outside Palm Springs. The Matadors will then host their home opener vs. Portland State on Mar. 1 at 11:30 a.m. at Matador Diamond. 

The Mitchell Report

Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell cranked the first two home runs of her CSUN career at the Kajikawa Classic. Mitchell went deep against Colorado State and Seattle and finished her weekend in Arizona with a .286 batting average. She earned All-Big West Honorable Mention honors in 2013 after a solid rookie year for the Matadors. Originally from Seattle, Wash., Mitchell batted .280 with 13 runs, four doubles, 14 RBIs, three sac bunts and two stolen bases. She led the Matadors with 20 hits against Big West opponents and sported a .299 batting average in league games. She finished the year tied for the team lead with 10 multi-hit games and added two multi-RBI games as well.

Brianna the Elder

Junior Brianna Elder had a strong start to the season in the circle at the Kajikawa Classic, figuring in all three Matador victories. She tossed a complete game with a career-high 11 strikeouts in the win vs. Oregon State and picked up her first career save with two innings of work vs. Seattle. Elder closed out the weekend with another complete game victory, this one coming at the expense of Colorado State. For the season, she is 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA and 18 K's in 16 innings of work. Last year, Elder finished 2-4 with a 3.11 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 47.1 innings of work. She picked up her first career shutout by scattering four hits in a 7-0 victory over Cal Poly and recorded a complete game victory over UC Davis in the series finale.

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Junior Abby Linn led the Matadors with nine base hits at the Kajikawa Classic. In CSUN's five games, Linn batted .526 and scored two runs with a stolen base. She has already four multi-hit games and had a season-high three hits vs. Western Michigan. Last year, Linn led CSUN with a .304 batting average in Big West play and batted a career-high .240 for the season. She totaled 17 runs, four doubles, five RBIs, seven sac bunts and nine stolen bases during the year. In the Matadors' 5-4 win over Pacific, Linn went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a run, RBI and a stolen base. The four hits established a new career high. She has 12 steals in her Matador career and they have come in 12 different games.

Burning Down the House

Junior Sydney House batted .429 with a double, RBI and a run scored during the Matadors' time at the Kajikawa Classic. In 2013, House batted .228 and tied for second on the team with eight doubles and 21 RBIs. She also cranked two home runs, including a grand slam against Hawai'i. She also carried a .351 slugging percentage, a .308 on-base percentage and drew 14 walks for the year. She finished the year with five multi-hit and three multi-RBI games.

A Rolling Stone Gathers no Maas

Junior Crystal Maas picked up an RBI at the plate and tossed 2.2 innings of scoreless softball in the Matadors' time at the Kajikawa Classic. Last year, Maas tied for second on the team with eight doubles and added two home runs, 15 RBIs and 16 runs scored. Maas also recorded her first two career stolen bases in 2013 and sported a .929 fielding percentage. Another two-way threat for the Matadors, Maas posted a 3.16 ERA and .186 opponent batting average in 24.1 innings of work last year. She tossed five relief innings of one-hit softball in the Matadors' loss to Cal Poly and tossed her first career shutout, striking out a career-high seven in a 5-0 victory over Santa Clara.

Bindi Bulletin

Senior Tanna Bindi picked up her first RBI of the season in the Matadors' victory over Colorado State at the Kajikawa Classic. Originally from Stockton, Calif., Bindi batted a career-high .225 with two doubles, two triples, two home runs and 14 RBIs in the 2013 season. She certainly showed a flair for the dramatic in 2013; her first career home run was a walk-off blast that lifted CSUN to a win over UCLA. She also executed a suicide squeeze in extra innings to down Pacific and dropped in a two-run single in the Matadors' victory over Long Beach State on ESPNU. Bindi also has excelled on defense at first base, owning a career fielding percentage of .980 through three seasons.

Better Call a Handy-Woman

Sophomore Madalyne Handy tied a career high with two hits in the Matadors' win vs. Seattle at the Kajikawa Classic. Last year, Handy batted .209 with nine runs, three RBIs, two sac bunts and a stolen base. She scored a season-high two runs and had a season-high two RBIs in a win over Seattle and had a season-high two hits in two different games. Off the field, Handy received the inaugural Dr. Dianne F. Harrison Freshman Leadership Award, based on her contributions to the CSUN community as a whole through both her academic and athletic ventures.

Newcomer Notes

The Matadors welcome nine true freshmen and two transfers to their roster for the 2014 season. The group wasted little time acclimating to Division I softball during the Matadors' time at the Kajikawa Classic. Junior Kaitlin Toerner, who spent the previous two years at Bakersfield College, batted a robust .750 with four runs scored and a stolen base. Rookie Katie Hooper batted .438 with a double and a team-best six RBIs in five games while another freshman, Taylor Glover, batted .421 with four runs, a double and a stolen base. Two rookies, Taylor Nate and Madison Fleming, each blasted their first career home run as Matadors during the weekend. In the circle, Jordan Sauceda, who joined the squad after two years at San Jose State, tossed five innings and allowed one earned run to pick up the win vs. Seattle. True freshmen Daphne Pofek and Aliyah Ricks also saw time in the circle for the Matadors during their stay in Arizona.

We're All Making Sacrifices around Here

CSUN did not record a sacrifice bunt during its five games at the Kajikawa Classic, which certainly bucks a recent trend. In 2013, the Matadors finished second in the Big West Conference with 62 sacrifice bunts. Among the returning players, Abby Linn had seven last year and owns nine for career. Senior Tanna Bindi had six last year and owns a team-high 12 for her career. Over the past five years, CSUN has averaged over 51 sacrifice bunts per season. During that span, CSUN has finished no worse than fourth among all Big West clubs in the category.

Double Your Pleasure

Four different Matadors recorded a double during the five games at the Kajikawa Classic. In 2013, CSUN smashed 65 doubles, which tied for second in the Big West Conference and represented 30 more than they had in 2012. Among the returning players, Sydney House and Crystal Maas were second on the team with eight. Five other returning players had at least two on the season. Surprisingly, all the extra-base hits last year produced just two triples, both coming off the bat of Tanna Bindi.

Taking One for the Team

As with sacrifice bunts, no CSUN hitter was hit by a pitch at the Kajikawa Classic. The Matadors were hit by a pitch a league-high 53 times in 2013. In fact, CSUN has led the Big West Conference in HBP in three of the last five seasons: 2010, 2012, 2013. Among the returning players, sophomore Maylynn Mitchell was hit 11 times in 2013, the third-most beanings in the Big West Conference. Leann Lopez was hit four times while fellow senior Tanna Bindi was plunked three times last year. Since the 2009 season, CSUN has averaged over 46 hit-by-pitches per season and led the Big West in 2010, 2012 and 2013.