CSUN Softball Heads to Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

Northridge Travels to Cathedral City for Third Preseason Tournament

The Cal State Northridge softball team (5-5) travels to Cathedral City, Calif., to participate in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams Park. At the event, CSUN will square off with New Mexico, No. 12 Texas A&M, Long Island-Brooklyn, Oklahoma State and UNLV. Selected contests will feature live stats and other media with links available at GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check with the CSUN softball program's official Twitter account (@CSUNSoftball) for updates throughout the weekend.

Last week, the Matadors went 2-3 in action at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. In the first game of the weekend, CSUN posted a 12-2, five-inning victory over Boise State. Katie Hooper hit two home runs and she and fellow freshman Taylor Glover each had four RBIs in the victory. The next day, the Matadors rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh to surge past Toledo 9-8. Brianna Elder tossed three innings of relief to earn her second win of the weekend.

This weekend, CSUN plays in its final neutral-site preseason tournament of the season. First up on the slate of games is a New Mexico squad that is 1-8 on the year after facing a tough slate of games over the opening two weekends. Naomi Tellez leads UNM with a .571 batting average, four extra-base hits and six RBIs on the year. As a team, New Mexico is batting .235 with 13 extra-base hits and a .298 team on-base percentage. In the circle, Carrie Sheehan is 1-3 with a 6.67 ERA and 13 K's in 28.1 innings of work. CSUN is 19-5 in the all-time series with UNM, but the Lobos have won the past two times.

The No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies are CSUN's second opponent at the event and first team the Matadors will face on Saturday, Feb. 22. Texas A&M is 9-2 on the year and boasts six regulars in the starting line-up hitting over .300 through 11 games. Nicole Morgan leads the squad with a .457 clip and also has a team-high four home runs and 14 RBIs. In the circle, Rachel Fox (3-1), Kate Marks (3-0) and Abby Donnell (2-0) have combined for 45 strikeouts in 63 innings of work. The Aggies have won the last three meetings with CSUN and are 5-2 against the Matadors in the all-time series.

The Matadors' third opponent is Long Island-Brooklyn, the first time the two schools will meet on the softball diamond, The Blackbirds are 2-7 overall and are batting .195 as a team through its first nine contests. Kayla Gloady leads LIU with a .364 batting average while Whitney West has a team-high five runs, nine hits and two extra-base hits. In the circle, Shelley Proctor is 2-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 26 K's in 38.2 innings of work.

CSUN's fourth opponent at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic is Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls are 7-3 overall and have held opponents to a .179 batting average. Simone Freeman is 5-2 with a 0.67 ERA and 65 K's in 42 innings of work. At the plate, the Cowgirls are batting .297 as a team and have scored 47 runs in their 10 games. Shelby Davis is batting .487 to lead Oklahoma State and she also leads the team with nine runs and 21 total bases. CSUN has won three straight vs. the Cowgirls and owns a 4-2 mark int he all-time series.

Northridge closes out its time at the tournament with a game against UNLV. The Rebels are 2-7 overall having played all of their nine contests at home thus far in 2014. UNLV is hitting .250 as a team and has 21 extra-base hits and a team on-base percentage of .328. Stefany Valentino leads the club with a .321 batting average and six walks while three Rebels have hit two home runs. In the circle, Amanda Oliveto is 1-4 with a 3.13 ERA and 22 K's in 31.1 innings of work. CSUN is 19-9 in the all-time series with UNLV, but the Rebels won the last meeting between the schools.

Next week, CSUN hosts Portland State and Rutgers at Matador Diamond for three days of softball action. On Friday, Feb. 28, the Vikings and Scarlet Knights play a doubleheader. The next day, CSUN opens its 2014 home campaign with games against Portland State and Rutgers. Finally, on Sunday, Mar. 2, the Matadors once again square off with the Vikings and Scarlet Knights. 

The Mitchell Report

Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell smashed her team-leading third home run of the season in the win over Boise State while also tying a career high with two runs scored in the contest. She hit the first two home runs of her CSUN career at the Kajikawa Classic, going deep against Colorado State and Seattle. For the year, Mitchell checks in at .296 with six runs, three RBIs and stolen base. 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 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 continues to be the Matadors' best weapon the circle through two weekends. She earned wins over Boise State and Toledo at the Easton Desert Classic. At the Kajikawa Classic, she figured 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 4-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 26 K's in 32 innings of work. Last year, Elder finished 2-4 with a 3.11 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 47.1 innings of work.

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Junior Abby Linn sports a .353 batting average heading into the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. In the victory over Boise State, she set a career high with four runs scored and registered three hits in a game for the second time this season. She led the Matadors with nine base hits at the Kajikawa Classic, batting .526 with two runs and a stolen base. She has already five multi-hit games, including 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. 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 carries a .353 batting average to Cathedral City. She had two RBIs and a double in the games in Las Vegas and she 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.

Bindi Bulletin

Senior Tanna Bindi is batting .211 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI in eight games this year. 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 and in their win over Toledo at the Easton Desert 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 has wasted little time acclimating to Division I softball. Junior Kaitlin Toerner, who spent the previous two years at Bakersfield College, leads the club with a .500 batting average in nine games. She has scored five runs, hit a double and collected two sacrifice hits. Freshman Taylor Glover has had a strong start to her CSUN career, batting .412 with nine runs, three doubles and nine RBIs through 10 games. She had four hits against Western Michigan and four RBIs in the win vs. Boise State. Fellow rookie Katie Hooper became the 28th player in program history to hit two home runs in a game, going deep twice against Boise State. She is batting .333 with a double and team-high 10 RBIs this year. 

Two more rookies, Taylor Nate and Madison Fleming, each blasted their first career home run as Matadors during the Kajikawa Classic. 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 in Arizona. True freshmen Daphne Pofek, Rebecca Bell and Aliyah Ricks have also seen time in the circle for the Matadors.

We're All Making Sacrifices around Here

CSUN has recorded five sacrifice bunts through its first 10 games of 2014. 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

Nine different Matadors have recorded a double in 2014 thus far, led by Taylor Glover's team-high three two-baggers. 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

CSUN batters have been hit by a pitch three times in 2014 through 10 games. 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.

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