Matadors Return Home to Host UC Davis in Big West Series

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

Cal State Northridge Faces Aggies in First Home League Series of 2014

The Cal State Northridge softball team (23-13. 1-2 Big West) hosts its first Big West Conference series of the 2014 season this weekend with a three-game slate against the UC Davis Aggies. The two teams will play a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday, April 5, and then play a single game on Sunday, April 6 also beginning at noon. Both contests will feature live stats available at GoMatadors.com. 

Last week, CSUN won a pair of games in exciting fashion while also falling on the other side of that sword in several contests. The Matadors defeated San Diego 4-2 by rallying for three runs in the seventh, including a two-out, two-run home run from Taylor Glover to finish off the Toreros. Brianna Elder earned the win against USD, tossing a complete game with one earned run and three strikeouts. 

Cal State Northridge also captured a 2-1, 12-inning victory at Cal Poly in their second win last week. The teams, who played into extra innings in the third and decisive game Sunday as well, were in a scoreless deadlock until Madison Fleming split the outfielder in left-center with a two-run double. Daphne Pofek picked up her fifth win of the season by tossing six innings of relief work with four strikeouts. 

This week, CSUN renews its rivalry with UC Davis at Matador Diamond. The Aggies enter the week with an 11-22 overall record and 0-3 mark in Big West action. They were swept by Long Beach State at home in their first league series of the 2014 season. 

At the plate, Kelly Zboralske leads the club in multiple offensive categories. She is batting .314 with 32 hits, seven doubles, two triples, five home runs and 17 RBIs. Briana Warner is batting .281 with 13 runs scored and a team-high 10 stolen bases while Christa Castello (five), Amy Nunez (eight) and Lauryn Sanders (five) have combined for 18 doubles.  The Aggies are batting .250 and own a .337 on-base percentage as a team. 

In the circle, the Aggies sport a team ERA of 4.80 with opponents batting .322 in 216 innings. Dana Cruse has started the majority of games in the circle for UCD and is 5-5 with a 4.08 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 70.1 innings of work. Lean Munden has made eight starts this year and is 2-8 with a 5.87 ERA and 20 K's in 53.2 innings of work. 

Although CSUN won the last meeting between the two schools, the Matadors have not won a three-game series with UC Davis since the 2009 season. Despite owning a 24-13 record in the all-time series, CSUN has not won a home game against the Aggies since the 2010 season. The Matadors enter the weekend having won 17 of their past 22 games and are 16-3 on the year in games decided by two runs or less.

Next week, CSUN hits the road for a non-conference doubleheader at Bakersfield on Wednesday, April 9. The two teams, longtime Division II rivals, will play their third and fourth game of the 2014 season starting at 1 p.m. CSUN then returns home for its next Big West Conference series, a three-game set with UC Santa Barbara. The two teams will play ad doubleheader on Saturday, April 12 and then a single game on Sunday, April 13 with both days starting at noon. 

Brianna the Elder

Junior Brianna Elder enters conference play as one of the league's top pitchers in 2014. For the season, she is 15-6 with a 2.04 ERA and 98 K's in 126.2 innings of work. She is second in the Big West with 15 wins and also ranks second in ERA, second in opponent batting average (.222), third in strikeouts and third in innings pitched. She earned the first Big West Pitcher of the Week award of her career after going 2-0 with a save and a 0.55 ERA in CSUN victories over Utah State and LMU. In the Matadors' home-opening victory over Portland State, Elder struck out a career-high 13 batters and tossed her sixth complete game of the year. Elder then tossed a quick seventh inning in CSUN's victory over Rutgers to earn her second save of the season. She posted complete game victories over New Mexico and UNLV at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Earlier this season, she tossed a complete game with 11 strikeouts in a win vs. Oregon State and picked up her first career save with two innings of work vs. Seattle.

CSUN's Lethal Weapon

Freshman Taylor Glover checks in among the Big West Conference's top five in multiple offensive categories. A rookie center fielder from Los Angeles, Glover is third in batting average (.405), fourth in slugging (.620) and seventh in on-base percentage (.438). She is second in the league with 75 total bases and is tied for second with four triples, 27 runs scored, 31 RBIs and 49 hits. Glover earned Big West Player of the Week honors after she batted .533 with three runs scored, five RBIs and two stolen bases as CSUN went 4-0 in games vs. Utah State and LMU. The rookie had two three-hit games at LMU to give her a team-best 14 multi-hit games this season. She also has six multi-RBI games, including two four-RBI performances. Glover owned a 17-game hitting streak at one point during the season and batted .421 with two home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs in the Matadors' 4-1 weekend against Harvard, Pacific and Bakersfield. On the basepaths, Glover ranks third in the Big West with 14 stolen bases.

Hooper Drives the Boat Chief

Freshman Katie Hooper has had a strong start to her college career thus far in 2014. The rookie from Sun Valley, Calif., is batting .289 with six doubles on the season. She is second on the team in RBIs with 23, a total that is tied for sixth in the Big West Conference. In a win over Boise State, she became the 28th Matador in program history to hit two home runs in a game. She also has three stolen bases, eight runs scored and a triple on the year. She scored a career-high three runs in a win over Grand Canyon and has had eight two-hit games. Hooper leads the Matadors with seven multi-RBI games, including a career-high four RBIs in the win over Boise State.

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Junior Abby Linn sports a .309 batting average heading into the Matadors' games this week. For the season, Linn has scored 22 runs, collected 38 hits and has two doubles. After posting zero triples in her first two seasons, Linn has already produced two three-baggers to rank tied for fifth in the Big West Conference. She is also eighth in hits and tied for 10th in runs scored. She batted .412 with a double, a triple and two runs scored in five games at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Linn is second on the Matadors in multi-hit games with 10, 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. She has 16 steals in her Matador career and they have come in 16 different games.

Bachman Toerner Overdrive

Junior Kaitlin Toerner has made the transition from junior college softball to Division I rather seamlessly in her first season at CSUN. After spending her first two seasons at Bakersfield College, Toerner is batting .382 in 32 games this season. She adds to that 18 runs scored, a double, five RBIs and seven stolen bases. Toerner leads the team with five sacrifice bunts, a total that ranks tied for eighth in the Big West Conference. She has had two three-hit games, scored two runs twice and had a season-high two RBIs in the win over UNLV. 

The Mitchell Report

Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell enters the weekend with a .264 batting average. 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 16 runs, seven RBIs and two stolen bases. 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. 

It's Not Just Great, It's Pofek

Freshman Daphne Pofek has come on strong lately for the Matadors in the pitching circle. A freshman from Riverside, Calif., Pofek is 5-3 on the season with two saves and a 3.90 ERA. She picked up the first two saves of her career and a win over Pacific last week. Against Utah State, she tossed a career-high eight innings and totaled a career-high six strikeouts. She picked up first career win with 4.2 innings of one-hit relief work in a victory over Georgetown. She ranks ninth in the Big West in ERA and ninth in opponent batting average (.281). Pofek is also batting .235 at the plate and had a career-high two hits and two RBIs in the victory over Toledo.

Taylor the Nate

Freshman Taylor Nate is batting .305 on the year in 33 games this season. She has three home runs on the year, including a grand slam in a victory over Grand Canyon, and is third on the squad with 17 RBIs on the season. She has eight multi-hits games on the year, including a career-high three hits in the second victory over the LMU Lions. She also has three multi-RBI games on the year and three stolen bases. Nate has scored 10 runs and sports a .960 fielding percentage in 124 defensive chances.

Learn Your Times Tables

CSUN batters have totaled 67 multi-hit and 25 multi-RBI games in 2014. Freshman Taylor Glover leads the team with 13 multi-hit games this year, including a career-high four hits against Western Michigan. Junior Abby Linn is second on the team with 10 multi-hit games and has two three-hit performances to her credit in 2014. Three new players to the Matador roster in 2014 (Taylor Nate, Katie Hooper and Kaitlin Toerner) all have eight multi-hit games apiece. Hooper and Glover are tied for the team lead with seven multi-RBI games each. Glover has driven four runs in two games while Hooper and Nate each have a four-RBI game this season.

Basepaths Beware

CSUN has stolen 48 bases in 36 games this season, the second-most thefts in the Big West Conference. Individually, Taylor Glover leads the team and ranks third in the league with 13 stolen bases. She needs seven more steals to set a new program single-season Division I record. Fellow rookie Carissa Sherman is second on the team and seventh in the conference with eight steals. Junior Kaitlin Toerner is third on the team and tied for eighth in the conference with seven to her credit and she, Sherman and Glover all have recorded two-steals in a game this season. Junior Abby Linn and Taylor Nate each have five stolen bases and three other Matadors have at least two.

We're All Making Sacrifices around Here

CSUN has recorded 22 sacrifice bunts through its first 36 games of 2014 with Kaitlin Toerner leading the squad with five. That total is sixth in the Big West Conference. As a team, CSUN is sixth in the league. 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. Bindi had six last year and owns a team-high 15 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 or Triple Your Pleasure

Thirteen different Matadors have recorded a double in 2014 thus far, led by Taylor Glover's six on the year. Katie Hooper is second on the team with five doubles and with 30 doubles in 36 games, CSUN is eighth in the Big West Conference. 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, the Matadors are third in the conference with eight triples. Taylor Glover owns half that total to tie for second in the Big West. Abby Linn already has two triples, the first two of her CSUN career, and Bindi picked up the third of her career in CSUN's win over Portland State.

Taking One for the Team

CSUN batters have been hit by a pitch 12 times in 2014 through 31 games, the fewest in the Big West Conference. 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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