March 9, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Matadors to Play Six Games in Five Days Starting Wednesday
The Cal State Northridge softball team (7-11) wraps up its nine-game homestand Wednesday with a visit from Notre Dame, then travels to Fresno State to compete in the Bayer CropScience Classic. At the tournament, the Matadors will face Colorado State, Georgetown, East Tennessee State, Fresno State and Mississippi State.
At the Matador Invitational, CSUN compiled a 2-2 record. Northridge defeated Iowa, 7-4, and Saint Mary's, 4-1, while losing to Iowa, 4-1, and Santa Clara, 5-2. Senior Lauren Olivas hit a whopping .533 in the four games, including a career-high four hits in the loss to the Broncos. She is now batting a career-high .333 for the season and leads the team in hits (20) and runs scored (12).
In the circle, Amanda Pitzenberger went 2-1 in the tournament, tossing 12 innings of eight-hit softball with only two earned runs allowed in her two victories. She now leads the team with a 5-2 record, a 2.94 ERA and a .254 batting-average against. All three figures rank among the top marks in the Big West Conference.
Notre Dame rides a 10-game winning streak into Wednesday's match-up. The Fighting Irish recently toppled Big West memberg UC Riverside, 10-0, and are batting .332 as a team. Conversely, their pitchers have yielded only a .207 opponent batting average. They also recently thwarted CSUN's upcoming opponent, East Tennessee State, 6-1.
In Fresno, the Matadors will continue to face a slew of highly regarded clubs. Colorado State is 12-7 and has already defeated three Big West squads. Fresno State is 10-7 overall, but 5-0 at home. Add to that a Mississippi State team that is CSUN's only crack at the powerful SEC in the 2010 season and Northridge will find itself tested once again.
A look at the CSUN's 2010 schedule reveals a slate of games filled with quality opponents that should give the Matadors a high RPI and strength-of-schedule. In fact, the 2010 schedule features 26 games against 17 opponents who competed in the NCAA Tournament. In terms of RPI, Northridge will play 18 opponents and 29 games, 15 of which are home contests, against clubs that had an RPI ranked in the top 100 at the end of the 2009 season. The Matadors finished 2009 with a final RPI of 81 and a strength-of-schedule of 96.
A staple of the Matadors in Coach Sparrey's tenure has been defensive acumen. The Matadors finished the 2009 season ranked 46th in the nation and third in the Big West Conference with a .967 fielding percentage. The team also finished 23rd in the nation in double plays per contest (0.42) finishing with 21 double plays in 50 games. Through 18 games in 2010, CSUN ranks fourth in the Big West with a .967 fielding percentage, committing only 18 errors in 540 chances.
Northridge finished the 2009 season with a league-high 62 stolen bases in 80 chances. At an average of 1.24 per game, the Matadors ranked 65th in Division I. In 2010, Northridge is 14-of-20 in stolen base attempts. Jennifer Mosier leads the team with four stolen bases while Tracy Allen, Jaci Carlsen and Lauren Olivas have each stolen two bags thus far. Jaclyn Rymer ranks seventh in school history with 29 steals.
We're All Making Sacrifices around Here
The Matadors finished second in the Big West with 55 sac bunts in 2009. Northridge has picked right where they left off in 2010, posting 13 sac bunts through its first 18 games, the second-most in the conference. Amanda Pitzenberger leads the squad with three while Tracy Allen, Christina Saenz and Alexandria Alvarado each have two sacrifices to their credit.
Taking One for the Team
Cal State Northridge batters finished the 2009 season having been plunked 43 times, the second-most in the Big West Conference. This year, CSUN has been plunked a league-high 18 times through 18 games. Alexandria Alvarado and Krystal Raphael have worn the biggest bulls-eye thus far, having been hit four times each.
The 2010 Matadors feature six seniors, five of whom started as freshman together in the 2007 season. Alexandria Alvarado, Lauren Olivas, Amanda Pitzenberger, Jaclyn Rymer and Christina Saenz all share numerous conference, school and individual honors entering their final season at CSUN. Add to that Debbie Duran, a transfer who earned all-league honors in 2009, and the class hopes to go out like the came in: with an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Getting the Lo-Down
Senior Lauren Olivas continued her stellar play from the leadoff spot at The Matador Invitational. She led the team with a .533 batting average in the four games, raising her season average to .333. Against Santa Clara, Olivas was a perfect 4-for-4, scoring two runs. The four hits set a new career high and she also collected her second career triple against the Broncos. In addition to her average, she leads the team with 20 hits and 12 runs scored.
Pitz The Truth
Senior Amanda Pitzenberger picked up both wins in the circle for Northridge at the Matador Invitational. She tossed five innings of relief work to spur CSUN to a 7-4 victory over Iowa. The next day, she threw a complete game, five-hitter to defeat Saint Mary's. For the season, Pitzenberger is 5-2 with a team-leading 2.92 ERA and .254 batting-average against in 38.1 innings of work.
Run Forrest Run
Junior Jennifer Mosier continues to lead the Matadors in hitting, batting .368 for the season. At the Matador Invitational, Mosier finished with a .444 clip, collecting four hits in nine at-bats. She also had two stolen bases, a walk and scored a run in the four games. For the season, she has 14 hits, five runs scored, two home runs and six RBIs. She sports a .553 on-base percentage and a team-leading .455 on-base percentage. She also leads the team with four stolen bases.
Sophomore Jaci Carlsen hit .333 at the Matador Invitational to raise her season average to .256. In the four games, Carlsen had four hits, scored three runs and picked up two RBIs. She also blasted her team-leading second triple of the season and drew two walks. For the season, she leads CSUN with 10 RBIs, scored six runs and stolen two bases. She also leads the team with two sac flys and owns a .340 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage.
Saenz of the Times
Senior Christina Saenz checks in at second on the team with a .333 batting average. She owns a team-leading .563 slugging percentage and a .429 on-base percentage for the year as well. She has two doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs. For her career, she now has driven in 73 runs, three shy of tying Shannon Jones for the 10th-most in school history. Saenz also took home her third career Big West Player of the Week honors Mar. 1 after batting .571 in the Matadors' games against Michigan State and San Diego State.
Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture
Junior Tracy Allen was one of four Matadors to bat over .300 at the Matador Invitational, checking in at .333 for the four games. She also added two sac bunts over the weekend a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 12 chances at third base. For the year, Allen is batting .273 with 15 hits, three doubles, two stolen bases and eight RBIs.