NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge softball team (26-19, 3-6 Big West) heads to UC Riverside for a three-game Big West Conference series with the Highlanders. CSUN and UCR will square off in a doubleheader on Friday, April 18 at Amy S. Harrison Field beginning at 1:30 p.m. The next day, the teams will meet in a noon contest to conclude the series. Links for live stats will be available at GoMatadors.com and fans are encouraged to check with the CSUN Athletic Department's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for updates throughout the weekend.
Last week, CSUN suffered some tough losses both at Matador Diamond and on the road. The Matadors split a doubleheader at Bakersfield on April 9, winning the first game 5-0 behind a shutout effort from Brianna Elder. However, the Matadors fell 3-0 in the second game and then were swept in a three-game Big West series against UC Santa Barbara. Add to that an 8-0, five-inning loss at No. 2 UCLA on April 15 and CSUN finds itself looking to snap out of a funk.
Still, there are 12 games remaining on the schedule beginning with three this weekend against UC Riverside. The Matadors are 80-11 in the all-time series with the Highlanders and swept the three-game series at Matador Diamond in 2013. The series will also be an important as both teams continue to jockey for position in the Big West standings.
UC Riverside is 21-21 overall and 2-7 in the Big West Conference. The Highlanders won their series at Cal State Fullerton for their first two wins of the conference season. Senior Dionne Anderson leads the squad with a .387 batting average and leads the Big West Conference with 37 stolen bases this season. She has eight doubles, three triples and has drawn 23 walks. Sophomore Ashley Ercolano, a dual threat in the circle as well, is batting .350 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs. In nine Big West games, sophomore Natalie Sanchez has three doubles to go with a .308 batting average.
In the circle, junior Alyssa Razo has started 28 games and is 12-11 with a 3.18 ERA in 143 innings of work. She has 98 strikeouts, 45 walks and has allowed 146 hits. In Big West play, Razo is 2-4 with a 5.87 ERA in eight appearances and 31 innings of work. Sophomore Sophie Slagle is 5-7 on the season with a 4.87 ERA in 73.1 innings of work. In Big West play, she is 0-3 with a 6.67 ERA and six strikeouts in 21 innings of work.
UC Riverside is 14-9 at home this season, owning a 13-9 record in games decided by two runs or less. The Highlanders are led by second-year head coach Linda Garza.
Following the trip to the Inland Empire, CSUN returns home to Matador Diamond for a three-game series with Long Beach State. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 26 starting at noon, followed by a single game on Sunday, April 27 also at noon.
Brianna the Elder
Junior Brianna Elder earned her second Big West Pitcher of the Week award of the season after posting a pair of complete game victories over UC Davis. Against the Aggies, Elder did not allow a run over her final 13 innings of work and picked up her second shutout of the season in Sunday's finale. For the season, she is 18-8 with a 2.00 ERA and 107 K's in 150.1 innings of work. She is second in the Big West with 18 wins and also ranks second in ERA, second in opponent batting average (.227), 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. 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 from Los Angeles, Glover is fourth in batting average (.389), fourth in slugging (.591) and seventh in on-base percentage (.439). She leads the Big West with 38 RBIs and is tied for the lead league with five triples. Glover is also second in the league with 88 total bases, is second with 58 hits and is tied for second with 31 runs scored. 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 owns a team-best 17 multi-hit games this season and also has nine 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 16 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 .293 with a team-high nine doubles, which ranks tied for third in the Big West, on the season. She is second on the team in RBIs with 27, which is tied for sixth in the league, and leads CSUN with 14 walks. 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, 10 runs scored and a triple on the year. She scored a career-high three runs in a win over Grand Canyon and has had 11 two-hit games. Hooper is second on 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 .313 batting average heading into the Matadors' games this week. For the season, Linn has scored 25 runs, collected 46 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 seventh in the Big West Conference. 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 11, 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 18 steals in her Matador career and they have come in 18 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 .358 in 41 games this season. She adds to that 21 runs scored, a double, seven RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Toerner leads the team with seven sacrifice bunts, a total that ranks tied for fourth in the Big West Conference, and her 10 stolen bases is tied for fourth in the league. She has had two three-hit games, scored two runs twice and had a season-high two RBIs twice.
The Mitchell Report
Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell enters the weekend with a .271 batting average. Mitchell had a season-high two RBIs and a stolen base in CSUN's win at Bakersfield on April 9. She smashed her 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 19 runs, 10 RBIs and three 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 5-5 on the season with two saves and a 3.58 ERA. She picked up the first two saves of her career and a win over Pacific and 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 eighth in the Big West in ERA and eighth in opponent batting average (.284). Pofek is also batting .182 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 .290 on the year in 40 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 21 RBIs on the season. She has nine multi-hits games on the year, including a career-high three hits in the second victory over the LMU Lions. She also has four multi-RBI games on the year, four doubles and five stolen bases. Nate has scored 14 runs and sports a .945 fielding percentage in 128 defensive chances.
Learn Your Times Tables
CSUN batters have totaled 83 multi-hit and 30 multi-RBI games in 2014. Freshman Taylor Glover leads the team with 17 multi-hit games this year, including a career-high four hits against Western Michigan. Junior Abby Linn is second on the team with 13 multi-hit games and has three three-hit performances to her credit in 2014. Three new players to the Matador roster in 2014 (Taylor Nate, Katie Hooper and Kaitlin Toerner) are right behind Linn with Hooper checking in with 11 multi-hit games all of the two-hit variety. Toerner has 10 multi-hit games, including three three-hit performances, while Nate has nine to her credit including a three-hit game. Glover also leads the team in multi-RBI games with nine, including two four-RBI performances. Hooper is second on the squad with seven multi-RBI games and she and Nate have registered a four-RBI game this year.
CSUN has stolen 58 bases in 45 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 16 stolen bases. She needs four more steals to set a new program single-season Division I record. Junior Kaitlin Toerner is second on the team with 10 stolen bases, tied for the fourth-most in the conference. She has had a season-high two steals in three different games this season. Carissa Sherman is third on the team with nine to rank tied for seventh in the league. She and Glover also have a two-steal game to their credit in 2014.Abby Linn checks in with seven steals, Taylor Nate adds five and three other Matadors have at least two.
We're All Making Sacrifices around Here
CSUN has recorded 31 sacrifice bunts through its first 45 games of 2014 with Kaitlin Toerner leading the squad with seven. That total is tied for fourth in the Big West Conference and 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 Katie Hooper's nine on the year. Taylor Glover is second on the team with eight and with 39 doubles in 45 games, CSUN is seventh 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 tied for second in the conference with nine triples. Taylor Glover owns more than half that total (5) to tie for the most 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 17 times in 2014 through 45 games, the fewest in the Big West Conference. Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell has been plunked a team-high five times and Jennifer Tyler is second on the squad with three beanings. 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, 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.