CSUN Softball Welcomes Portland State, Rutgers for Homestand


NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

Northridge Face Scarlet Knights, Vikings Twice at Matador Diamond

The Cal State Northridge softball team (7-8) hosts Portland State and Rutgers in a three-day slate of softball games at Matador Diamond from Feb. 27-Mar. 1. The Vikings and Scarlet Knights will play a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 27 beginning at 1 p.m. The next day, after another Rutgers-Portland State contest, CSUN faces the Vikings in its official 2014 home opener at 11:30 a.m. The Matadors will then face Rutgers on Saturday at 2 p.m., followed by Sunday contests with both clubs starting with Rutgers at 9 a.m. All CSUN games will feature live stats and the Matadors' doubleheader Sunday will feature a live, internet-only broadcast of the games with James Jewett calling all the action. With rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, check with GoMatadars.com for updates throughout the weekend.

Last week, CSUN went 2-3 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic by picking up victories over New Mexico and UNLV. Junior Brianna Elder earned complete-game victories in both contests to give her five CGs on the season. Offensively, Katilin Toerner, Abby Linn and Taylor Glover continued to lead the Matadors while Taylor Nate picked up her second home run of the season.

This week, CSUN renews acquaintances with Rutgers and Portland State after lengthy absences in the series. The Matadors have not faced Portland State since the 2011 season when the squads split a pair of neutral-site contests. The Vikings are 2-8 on the season through two weekends and are batting .244 as a team. Junior outfielder Aubrey Nitschelm leads the squad offensively with a .345 batting average and 10 RBIs. Brittany Hendrickson, another junior outfielder, checks in at .343 with seven RBIs and a team-high 12 hits. Two other Vikings, Crystal Conn and Shae Nelson, are hitting .333 through 10 games and PSU has combined for 17 extra-base hits and a .328 on-base percentage.

In the circle, Portland State owns a team ERA of 6.78 in 65 innings of work. Megan Hendrix, a 5-6 freshman southpaw, is 2-2 on the year with a 6.27 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 22.1 innings of work. Raya Johnson, Karyn Wright and Melissa Masters have also seen time in the circle and as a whole, opponents are hitting .338 off Portland State pitching this year. CSUN leads the all-time series with Portland State 8-3, but the Vikings have won three of the last four meetings.

Rutgers makes the journey all the way from Piscataway, N.J., for five games in the San Fernando Valley. The Scarlet Knights are an even 5-5 on the season and are facing CSUN for the first time since the 2009 campaign. Alexis Durando, a senior first baseman, is batting a team-high .481 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBIs. Loren Williams, a senior outfielder, is also having a fast start to the season with a .469 batting average and a team-high 17 hits and 11 runs scored. As a team, Rutgers is hitting .299 and has stolen 16 bases on the year.

In the circle, Alyssa Landrith, a junior southpaw, has tossed a team-high 35 innings and is 2-3 with a 2.40 ERA and 36 strikeouts. She has held opponents to a .200 batting average and has surrendered six extra-base hits on the year. Dresden Maddox is 2-0 with a 3.57 ERA in 15.2 innings of work and Shayla Sweeney is 1-2 with a 10.14 ERA in 9.2 innings. CSUN leads the all-time series with Rutgers 3-1, although the teams split a doubleheader at Matador Diamond in 2009.

Next week, CSUN continues its run of home games with five contests as part of the CSUN/UCLA Invitational. The three-day event, which runs Mar. 7-9, will feature three games at Matador Diamond each day starting at 9 a.m. 

On Mar. 7, Georgetown and Grand Canyon start the day, followed by CSUN and Grand Canyon and ending with Oregon State and Georgetown. On Saturday, Mar. 8, CSUN squares off with Georgetown at 9 a.m., followed by Oregon State and Grand Canyon and CSUN and Grand Canyon. Finally on Sunday, Grand Canyon and Oregon State open the day at 9 a.m., followed by CSUN games with Oregon State and Charleston Southern.

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Junior Abby Linn sports a .373 batting average heading into the Matadors' season-opening homestand. She batted .412 with a double, a triple and two runs scored in five games at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Through 15 games, Linn leads the Matadors in multi-hit games with seven, including three three-hit performances. She scored a career-high four runs in a victory over Boise State and led the Matadors with nine base hits at the Kajikawa Classic, batting .526 with two runs and a stolen base. After posting zero triples in her first two seasons, Linn has already produced two three-baggers to rank tied for second in the Big West Conference. She also ranks tied for fourth in the league with 19 base hits. She has 13 steals in her Matador career and they have come in 13 different games.

Brianna the Elder

Junior Brianna Elder continues to be the Matadors' best weapon the circle through three weekends. She posted complete game victories over New Mexico and UNLV at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, raising her season totals to six wins and five complete games. Earlier this season, she tossed a complete game with a career-high 11 strikeouts in a win vs. Oregon State and picked up her first career save with two innings of work vs. Seattle. For the season, she is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA and 35 K's in 46.2 innings of work. She is tied for the Big West lead with six wins, ranks seventh in ERA, sixth in opponent batting average and sixth in innings pitched.

The Mitchell Report

Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell enters the weekend with a .300 batting average, one of five Matadors at or over the mark entering the weekend homestand. She smashed her team-leading third home run of the season in a 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 with eight 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.

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 .483 batting average in 14 games. She has scored seven runs, picked up three RBIs and collected two sacrifice hits. Freshman Taylor Glover has had a strong start to her CSUN career, batting .391 with 10 runs, three doubles and 10 RBIs through 15 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 .300 with a double and team-high 11 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 eight sacrifice bunts through its first 15 games of 2014 with rookie Taylor Glover owning four of them. 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 13 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

Eleven 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. This year, Abby Linn already has two triples, the first two of her CSUN career.

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.