April 2, 2009

Northridge Softball Hits the Road For League Series at Long Beach State

April 2, 2009

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

Matadors Travel for Pivotal Three-Game Series against 49ers

The Cal State Northridge softball team (23-9, 3-0 BWC) rides an 11-game winning streak into its weekend series at Long Beach State. The teams will play a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. at 49er Softball Complex on April 4, and then play a single game on April 5 also starting at 1 p.m.

The Matadors were the only league team to finish the first weekend undefeated, sweeping a three-game series with Pacific at Matador Diamond. The preseason favorite to win the Big West, the 49ers pose a serious threat to the Matadors, ranking fourth in both team batting average (.277) and team ERA (2.88) entering Saturday's doubleheader.

Against the Tigers, Debbie Duran was 2-0 with a save while posting a 0.84 ERA in 16.2 innings of work. She added two more complete games to her season total of 12 and limited the Tigers to a .242 batting average. At the plate, Micah Putnam added two RBIs over the weekend to push her season total to a career-high 24. Also, Jennifer Mosier made her first two starts of the season over the weekend, and responded with two hits and two RBIs in the Matadors' 4-2 victory on Saturday.

We're Going Streaking

The Matadors have quietly strung together an 11-game winning streak after sweeping all three games from Pacific. In that span, CSUN has wracked up impressive victories over Texas, Oklahoma State, San Diego State and Iowa State and also swept a doubleheader at historical rival Cal State Bakersfield. At the plate, five Matadors have had hitting streaks of at least five games this season, with Alexandria Alvarado's eight-game streak the longest by an individual Matador in 2009.

Debbie Duran Among Conference and National Leaders

Junior Debbie Duran continues to lead the Matadors from the pitching circle, picking up two complete-game victories and a save in CSUN's three-game sweep against Pacific. She is now 16-5 on the season with a 1.53 ERA and a .232 batting-average against in 128.1 innings of work. Duran leads the league with 27 appearances and has already tossed 12 complete games this season. She now ranks 11th in Division I with her 16 victories and 20th in the nation with her two saves.

Putnam Provides Prolonged Productivity, Prompting Perennially Pleasing Performances

Senior Micah Putnam picked up another two RBIs over the weekend to push her season total to a career-high 24. That figure ranks tied for sixth in the Big West Conference and her eight sac bunts rank third among all league players. For the season, Putnam is batting .279 with 13 runs, 24 hits, four doubles, a triple, two home runs and five stolen bases. She has also posted a .968 fielding percentage at second base, ranking fifth in the league with 76 assists.

Rymer and Reason

Junior Jaclyn Rymer checks in among the Big West's best in several offensive categories in 2009. She ranks sixth in batting average (.367), fourth in on-base percentage (.472), third in runs scored (23), ninth in hits (33), eighth in walks (14) and seventh in stolen bases (5). On defense, Rymer ranks second among all league players in chances (290), putouts (274) and fielding double plays (12). She tied a school record with five hits at Bakersfield on Mar. 21, earning Big West Player of the Week honors on Mar. 23.

Double A Keeps Going and Going and Going

Junior Alexandria Alvarado remains a potent threat for CSUN both at the plate and in the field. The junior is batting .276 for the season with a team-high six doubles, 13 runs scored and 11 RBIs. She also has three stolen bases and 27 hits for the season and sports a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 28 chances in the outfield.

A Saenz of the Times

Junior Christina Saenz remains a dangerous threat in the middle of the Matadors' line-up. She ranks fourth in the Big West with a .381 batting average and third in the league with a .475 on-base percentage. Additionally, she has 15 runs scored, four doubles and 18 RBIs at the plate and sports a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

Karla's Korner

Sophomore Karla Chaparro ranks among the Big West Individual Top 10 in stolen bases (6, 4th), sac bunts (5, T-8th), and defensive assists (87, 2nd). She already has a career-high seven RBIs, 16 hits and five runs scored this season.

Getting the Lo-Down

Junior Lauren Olivas tied a career high with her two RBIs Sunday in CSUN's 3-2 victory over Pacific to complete the series sweep. For the season, she has scored 11 runs, has four RBIs and a double. Olivas also has a stolen base and owns a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 19 chances (16 PO, 3 A) from the outfield. s

Basepaths Beware

Northridge leads the Big West Conference with 38 sac bunts. Micah Putnam is third with eight sac bunts, while Karla Chaparro and Krystal Raphael are tied for eighth with five. CSUN also ranks second with 34 stolen bases. Chaparro and Tracy Allen rank fourth in the league with six stolen bases each and Jaclyn Rymer and Putnam have five steals on the season to rank seventh in the BWC. Conversely, CSUN catcher Krystal Raphael has dissuaded opponents, throwing out 10 of 24 would-be-basestealers, a 42 percent success rate.

Defensive Dynamos

Northridge owns a .968 fielding percentage, ranking third in the conference and 47th in the nation. In fact, the Big West boasts five of the top 57 defensive teams in the nation. CSUN also ranks 10th in the nation with an average of 0.53 double plays-per-game, having turned 17 already this season. Jaclyn Rymer ranks second with 274 putouts while Karla Chaparro is second with 87 assists and Micah Putnam is fifth with 76 defensive assists.

Torgeson Elected to NFCA Hall of Fame

Former Cal State Northridge softball coach Gary Torgeson was elected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the NFCA 25th Anniversary Convention in Marco Island, Fla. During his 13-year tenure, Torgeson won four Division II National Championships and helped CSUN successfully transition to Division I, culminating with an appearance in the College World Series Final against Arizona in 1994. He finished with a 636-216-8 record and never finished worse than a tie for first in the conference standings.

Scouting Long Beach State

The Big West champions in 2008, Long Beach State represents the Matadors' first conference road trip of the season. At 21-14 and 2-1 in league play, the 49ers currently reside in second place in the Big West Conference. They took two out of three from UC Davis last weekend and own impressive non-conference wins over Fresno State and UCLA.

Offensively, Jennifer Griffin is making an early case for league player of the year. Griffin is one of three players in the Big West to rank among the top 10 in batting average (.330-10th), slugging percentage (.650-4th) and on-base percentage (.477-2nd). She leads the league in runs scored (27) and RBIs (29) and also checks in at second in home runs with eight.

Also for LBSU, Ashley Weber leads the nation with an average of .53 sac bunts per game, bringing in a total of 19 into Saturday's doubleheader. As a team, Long Beach State is hitting .277 for the season and owns a .970 fielding percentage.

In the circle, the 49ers have a pair of tough pitchers in Brooke Turner and Taylor Petty. A 2008 All-American, Turner is 11-7 with a 3.05 ERA and leads the league with five shutouts. A freshman, Petty is 9-3 with a 1.27 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 93.1 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .251 off LBSU pitching this season.

In the all-time series between the schools, LBSU holds a narrow 44-40 advantage and took two of three from CSUN at Northridge last year. Kim Sowder is in her third season as the head coach of the 49ers and owns a 89-56 record.

Next Week for Northridge

The Matadors remain on the road next week, playing a three-game series at UC Santa Barbara starting with a doubleheader on April 10 at noon. The two teams play a single game on April 11 also at noon.