March 24, 2010

Northridge Closes Out Non-Conference Season with Pair against Utah

March 24, 2010

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Host Utes in Doubleheader at Matador Diamond

The Cal State Northridge softball team (14-16) closes out its non-conference schedule with a doubleheader against the University of Utah on Mar. 25 starting at noon. The Matadors are 13-7 (.650) over their past 20 games, giving them confidence not only against the Utes, but with the start of Big West play looming as well.

In fact, the two games against Utah open an eight-game homestand for CSUN. Northridge opens the Big West season with two-straight home series, facing UC Davis (Apr. 2-3) and Long Beach State (Apr. 10-11). Following the games against the 49ers, Northridge will have finished a stretch where it played 12 of 14 games at Matador Diamond.

Last week, Northridge finished 3-3 in six very close games. The Matadors earned wins over North Dakota, No. 8 Oklahoma and Cal State Bakersfield. Hanah Fraijo tossed two complete game shutouts, defeating the Sooners and Roadrunners. Jennifer Mosier batted .375 in the six games to leave her season average at a team-high .386.

Against Utah, Northridge gets its final two opportunities to collect quality wins against non-conference opponents. The Matadors have already picked up wins over San Diego State, Iowa, Colorado State and Mississippi State in 2009-10. The Utes are 11-15 overall and have lost nine of their last 11.

CSUN owns a 22-10-2 all-time record against Utah. This doubleheader will be the first Utah has played at Matador Diamond since a three-game series on Apr. 27-28, 1996. The last game played between the teams ended in a 5-5 tie on Feb. 9, 2007 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Matadors have not defeated the Utes since a 3-0 win on Mar. 15, 2002.

Scheduling Story

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.

Defensive Dynamos

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 30 games in 2010, CSUN sports a .964 fielding percentage, committing only 32 errors in 901 chances.

Basepaths Beware

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 22-of-32 in stolen bases, the most steals in the league. Jennifer  Mosier leads the team with six stolen bases and Jaci Carlsen has five steals. Tracy Allen is third on the team having stolen three 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 a league-high 31 sac bunts through its first 30 games. Amanda Pitzenberger, Jaclyn Rymer and Karla Chaparro lead the squad with four sac bunts.

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 31 times through 30 games. Krystal Raphael has worn the biggest bulls-eye thus far, having been hit six times.

Senior Story

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.

I Have the Power

Northridge has certainly had an offensive punch in 2010. The Matadors lead the Big West in hits (195), runs scored (115), RBIs (95) and doubles (31). The team's .360 slugging percentage and .342 on-base percentage rank third among the league sqauds and their 14 home runs are the second-most in the conference.

Run Forrest Run

Junior Jennifer Mosier continues to lead the Matadors in hitting, entering Thursday's contest with a .386 average. She also leads the squad in slugging (.576) and on-base percentage (.476). She has scored 17 runs, hit four home runs and produced 10 RBIs. She also leads the team with six stolen bases and 12 walks. Earlier this season against Mississippi State, she hit two home runs and had a career-high four hits, four runs scored and three RBIs.

It Certainly Ain't Hannah Montana

Sophomore Hannah Fraijo turned in a pair of dominating performances last week. On St. Patrick's Day against No. 8 Oklahoma, she tossed a two-hit shutout as CSUN upset the Sooners 1-0. Then at Cal State Bakersfield, she issued only three hits to the Roadrunners en route to a 2-0 Matador victory. For the season, Fraijo is 6-5 with a team-best 3.57 ERA, 55 K's and a .269 opponent batting average.

Reno 911

Sophomore Jaci Carlsen has been a steady fixture in the clean-up spot for Northridge in 2010. She enters the week batting .261 with six doubles, two triples and two home runs. Carlsen leads the team with 18 RBIs and she is second on the team with 10 walks and five stolen bases. For the year, Carlsen sports a .493 slugging, .384 on-base and a .948 fielding percentage in 97 chances at second base (53 POs, 39 A, 5 E).

Getting the Lo-Down

Senior Lauren Olivas enters the week with a career-high .319 batting average. She leads the team with 30 hits and 19 runs scored. Against Cal State Bakersfield, she collected her fourth double and second triple of the season, raising her season slugging percentage to .436. Olivas also hit her first career home run in 2010, sports a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and is second on the team with a .385 on-base percentage.

Mama Mia!

Freshman Mia Pagano picked up the first win of her CSUN career last week. Against North Dakota, she tossed 6.1 innings of four-hit softball. That performance came on the heels of Pagano earning the first two saves of her career in Fresno. For the season, Pagano is 1-3 with a 4.67 ERA and .269 batting-average against.

Mihm's the Word

Junior Kristen Mihm picked a great time for her first career home run, blasting a solo shot to help lead Northridge to a 1-0 upset over No. 8 Oklahoma. For the season, Mihm is batting a career-high .257 with nine hits, five runs and a career-high six RBIs. Mihm also owns a .357 on-base percentage and perfect fielding percentage in 21 chances at both first base and in the outfield.

Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture

Junior Tracy Allen checks in with a .267 batting average entering Thursday's games against Utah. She shares the team lead with a career-high six doubles and is second on the team with a career-high 13 RBIs. Allen also has a home run, three sac bunts and three stolen bases on the season. She also owns a .964 fielding percentage in 110 chances at third base (37 POs, 69 A, 4 E).

Karla's Korner

Junior Karla Chaparro continues to raise her batting average, entering the week at a career-high .232 clip. She already has a career-high five doubles, 12 runs scored and seven walks. Chaparro also shares the team lead with four sac bunts and has also played exceptional defense at shortstop for the Matadors. She owns a .963 fielding percentage in 108 chances (50 POs, 54 A, 4 E).

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