Northridge Softball Travels to Sin City for UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic

Feb. 17, 2011

CSUN's Weekly Slate of Games (All Times Pacific) 

2.18.11 / 9 a.m. Northridge vs. Nevada

2.18.11 / 11:15 a.m. Northridge vs. Portland State

2.19.11 / 11:15 a.m. Northridge vs. No. 23 BYU

2.19.11 / 3:45 p.m. Northridge vs. Utah State

2.20.11 / 11:15 a.m. Northridge vs. No. 9 Hawai'i

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Tournament Central Page

CSUN Faces Familiar Foes over Five Games

The Cal State Northridge softball team (3-2) remains on the road for its second weekend of games, traveling to Las Vegas for five contests as part of the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. In Sin City, the Matadors will face a former WAC Rival (Utah State) and also draws a pair of ranked opponents (No. 23 BYU and No. 9 Hawai'i). The other two games pit Northridge against a talented Portland State team that CSUN topped, 4-3, just last Sunday and a meeting with Nevada, the first neutral site game between the two schools since 1989.

Northridge showed some flair for the dramatic in their five games at the Kajikawa Classic on opening weekend. CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers saw Northridge rally in the bottom of the seventh in one game, come from six runs down in the second and hold on to a one-run victory in the third. The Matadors' 3-2 start was the squad's best opening weekend since the 2005 team went 4-1.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the performance of the Matador pitchers. With junior Hannah Fraijo limited to a strict pitch count, the freshmen trio of Carly Wade, Ashley Aratow and Leann Lopez had to face some difficult situations in the first games of their NCAA careers. Wade earned a save and Aratow picked up a win for the Matadors and all three will be counted upon in Las Vegas.

At the plate, CSUN flexed its muscles in key spots to pull out some dramatic victories. The Matadors hit two grand slams (Kristen Mihm and Mikayla Thielges) in Arizona and added 19 walks, 19 RBIs and five doubles. Jennifer Mosier tied a school record with three stolen bases against Portland State and Karla Chaparro tied a career high with three hits in the season opener.

In Las Vegas, the Matadors will face a tough slate of regional rivals. On Friday, Feb. 18, CSUN will face Nevada and Portland State. The Matadors and Vikings have already played this season with Northridge posting a 4-3 victory. On Saturday, Feb. 19, Northridge draws No. 23 BYU and Utah State, a former rival from the Matadors' days in the WAC. CSUN closes out its time in Sin City with a meeting against the No. 9 Rainbow Wahine.

1200 and Loving It

The Matadors' 4-3 victory over Portland State was the 1,200th in school history. Northridge softball has been around since 1978 and owns an all-time record of 1,200-645-12 (646). In that time, the Matadors have won four NCAA Division-II National Championships and since moving to Division-I, have appeared in the two Women's College World Series (1993, 1994), the National Championship game (1994) and qualified for the postseason 13 times.

Run Forrest Run

Senior Jennifer Mosier, tied a team record with her three stolen bases in the win against Portland State. She batted .333 for the weekend at ASU's Kajikawa Classic and hit the first pitch she saw in the 2011 season over the fence for her seventh career home run. She added two hits and scored two runs against San Jose State. Mosier earned 2010 All-Big West First Team honors after leading the team in batting average, on-base percentage, hits runs, walks and stolen bases. Her 18 steals in 2010 were the most by an individual Matador since 1990, setting a new program Division I record, and rank ninth in school history for a single season.

It Certainly Ain't Hannah Montana

Junior Hannah Fraijo looked strong in her return from offseason surgery. She factored in all three Matador victories, posting two wins and a save. She tossed 6.1 innings against Portland State to help lead CSUN to a 4-3 victory. For the year, Fraijo is 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA and one strikeout. The save was the third of her career and tied her for 10th in school history. In 2010, she earned All-Big West First Team and finished 18-8 with a 2.69 ERA, 102 K's.

Karla's Korner

Senior Karla Chaparro tied a career high with her three hits against San Jose state and batted a team-high .375 in the Matadors' five games at the Kajikawa Classic. She scored two runs, added a double and posted a .545 on-base percentage in Arizona. Chaparro been a mainstay at shortstop for Northridge over the past two seasons, having started every game. Defensively, she has been outstanding and owns a .951 career fielding percentage.

Mihm's the Word

Senior Kristen Mihm popped one of the Matadors' two grand slams last weekend, mashing her third career home run in CSUN's win over Western Michigan. She added a two-run double in Northridge's win against San Jose State and leads the team with six RBI's and four walks. In 2010, Mihm set new career highs in batting average (.302), runs (14), hits (19), doubles (3), home runs (2), RBIs (9) and total bases (28).

Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture

Senior Tracy Allen led the Matadors with two doubles at the Kajikawa Classic. She scored three runs for the Matadors and added 16 defensive assists in Arizona. Allen picked up the game-winning double in the bottom of the seventh inning in Northridge's win over San Jose State. She earned All-Big West First Team honors in 2010 and finished with new career highs in batting average (.307), hits (50), doubles (8), home runs (7), RBIs (36) and total bases (79).

Catch Me If You Can

Sophomore Mikayla Thielges mashed one of the Matadors' two grand slams in Arizona, cranking her first career home run in the win over San Jose State. She added a sac fly to finish the weekend with five RBIs. Thielges also started every game at catcher for the Matadors at the Kajikawa Classic.

Reno 911

Junior Jaci Carlsen, picked up a double and drove in two runs in the Matadors' weekend at the Kajikawa Classic. She had an RBI double in the Matadors' win over Portland State, the 15th of her career. Carlsen also posted one of the Matadors' five stolen bases on the weekend, stealing a bag in the Matadors' loss to California. She earned All-Big West First Team honors for her play at second base in 2010, recording a league-high 44 RBIs and 21 extra-base hits, courtesy of 11 doubles, two triples and eight home runs.

Carly's Wade With Words

Freshman Carly Wade earned a save in the Matadors' victory over Portland State at the Kajikawa Classic. She struck the final out looking to seal the Matadors' one-run victory over the Vikings, whom CSUN will face again in Las Vegas. Although her ERA is high due to a rough outing against California, she held opponents to a .250 batting average in eight innings of work.

Aratows of Fire

Freshman Ashley Aratow picked up her first career win in the Matadors' victory over Western Michigan. Against the Broncos, she tossed 2.2 innings of one-run relief work as Northridge came from behind in the win. She owns a 5.60 ERA due to a tough start against Stanford, but wound up holding opponents to a .261 batting average in five innings of work.

Time for Madeline

Freshman Madeline Sale started all five games at designated player for Northridge in Arizona, posting a .300 batting average with one run scored. Sale broke up Stanford's bid for a no-hitter and added a run and two walks against Western Michigan. She drew three walks to post a .462 on-base percentage.

Sloniker's Story

Junior Samantha Sloniker started all five games in right field in Arizona, finishing with a .273 average and a team-high four runs scored. She added a stolen base, two RBIs and was one of three Matadors to finish with three walks. Sloniker picked up the game-winning RBI in Northridge's win over Portland State.

Defensive Dynamos

Over the past three seasons, one of Northridge softball's strengths has been its defensive play. In 2010, the team sported a .970 fielding percentage to lead the Big West Conference and rank 34th in Division-I. The Matadors have picked up right where they left off, having committed only four errors and post a .970 fielding percentage in Arizona.

I have the Power

Northridge brings a talented offensive line-up into 2011 after packing an offensive punch in 2010. Last year, CSUN led the league in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs, RBIs and total bases. Through five games in 2011, the Matadors rank second in the league in on-base percentage (.370) and second in the conference in home runs (3) and RBIs (19). CSUN has also drawn a league-high 19 walks thus far.

Taking one for the Team

Over the past three seasons, Northridge batters have recorded 130 hit-by-pitches, an average of over 43 painful passes to first base per year. In 2010, CSUN led the Big West with 60 HBP and had two players rank in Division-I's Top 50 in Hit-By-Pitch per game. This year, three Northridge batters have already been plunked, the second-most hit by pitches in the Big West Conference.

We're All Making Sacrifices around Here

Over the past two seasons, CSUN has finished second (2009, 55) and first (2010, 56) in the Big West Conference in sacrifice bunts. Over the past three seasons, Northridge has averaged over 50 sac bunts per season. Through five games in 2011, the Matadors successfully executed four sacrifice bunts, tied for third in the Big West. CSUN also had two sacrifice flies at the Kajikawa Classic.

Basepaths Beware

For head coach Tairia Flowers, CSUN brings in a steep tradition for aggressively attacking the basepaths. Last year, the Matadors finished 39-of-51 in stolen base opportunities. In 2010, Jennifer Mosier led the team with a school Division-I-record 18 stolen bases, which ranks ninth in school history for a single season. She picked up right where she left off in 2011, tying a school record with three steals against Portland State. Samantha Sloniker and Jaci Carlsen own the other two Matador stolen bases on the season.

Preseason Prognostications

The Matadors, who finished 2010 at 31-22 overall and 15-6 in the Big West to earn a share of the league title with UC Davis, were picked to finish third by the conference's coaches in their 2011 Preseason Poll. Northridge received 41 points in the poll, though it did not receive a first place vote. For the second-straight year, Cal Poly was picked to win the league, receiving 54 points and three first-place votes. UC Davis, who CSUN tied for the Big West Conference championship in 2010, was picked second with 51 points and three first-place votes. Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside received the other two first place votes in the poll.