Matadors Start 2013 Season at ASU’s Kajikawa Classic


NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---

Matadors face Challenging Slate in Sonoran Desert 

The Cal State Northridge softball team opens its 2013 season with five games at the Arizona State Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. At the event, CSUN will face San Jose State and the host No. 4 Sun Devils (Feb. 8), No. 14 Florida and No. 3 California (Feb. 9) and Western Michigan (Feb. 10). Select contests will feature live stats available at and statistics and results will also be made available on the CSUN athletic department's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors). Four of the Matadors' five games will be played at the Tempe Sports Complex while CSUN's game with Arizona State will be played on the Sun Devils' campus at Farrington Stadium.

The 2013 rendition of the Matadors features a club led by six seniors: Alexa Limon, Tiffini Lucero, Mia Pagano, Korinne Randazzo, Shelly Tait and Mikayla Thielges. Both Pagano, a 5-9 pitcher from Temecula, Calif., and Thielges, a 6-2 catcher from Las Vegas, have earned All-Big West honors during their careers. Limon and Tait add veteran arms to the CSUN pitching rotation while Randazzo and Lucero are both solid defensive players looking to close out their college careers strongly.

Northridge also returns juniors Tanna Bindi and Leann Lopez and sophomores Brianna Elder, Sydney House, Abby Linn, Crystal Maas and Adrienne Martinez. Finally, CSUN adds five newcomers to the roster this year: Madalyne Handy, Samantha Jakeway, Maylynn Mitchell, Jennifer Tyler and Ariana Wassmer. The team also added a new assistant coach in former Pacific standout Cindy Ball.

The 2013 season will feature a slate 56 games for the Matadors. After spending the first 23 games away from home, the Matadors will have a 12-game homestand in March that will feature contests with UCLA, CSU Bakersfield, Northern Illinois, LMU, Seattle and Hawai'i. CSUN will also host Big West Conference series  against Cal Poly, Pacific and UC Riverside.

In their fourth-straight trip to Arizona to start their season, the Matadors will face regional rivals in the Spartans, Sun Devils and Golden Bears while also squaring off with the Gators and Broncos. CSUN has not defeated a member of the Pac-12 Conference since the 2007 season. Northridge will meet Western Michigan at the Kajikawa Classic for the third-straight season and the two teams have split the previous two meetings. The Matadors played Cal last year and lost 7-0 in a preseason tournament in Cathedral City, Calif.

Next weekend, CSUN heads to Northern California to compete in the Stanford Nike Classic in Palo Alto, Calif. On the campus of the Cardinal, the Matadors play the host and CSU Bakersfield twice and square off once with Santa Clara University. However, before heading to Palo Alto, the Matadors will play a doubleheader at Fresno State on Feb. 13 beginning at 3 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.

Mama Mia!

Senior Mia Pagano earned All-Big West Second Team honors for her work in 2012. She finished the season 8-19 overall, but posted a 3.45 ERA, 111 K's and .289 opponent batting average. Against Big West opponents, Pagano went 4-7 but posted a 2.25 ERA, 38 K's and a .250 opponent batting average. She earned a complete game win against Cal State Fullerton where she scattered five hits with no walks and three strikeouts in seven innings of work. Pagano tossed a two-hit shutout and clubbed her first career home run, a grand slam, to lead CSUN to a 4-0 victory over Cal Poly. She picked up two complete game victories at Pacific and finished with a career-high eight strikeouts twice (BYU, Nevada) at the San Diego Classic I. She tossed her first career shutout and tied a then-career-high with six strikeouts in an extra-inning victory over Iowa. As if her pitching performance was not enough, Pagano flexed some offensive muscle. Against New Mexico, Pagano set new career highs with three hits and four RBIs. For the season, she hit .195 with four runs and 10 RBIs. 

Luck Be Thielges Tonight

Senior and Las Vegas native Mikayla Thielges will look to close our her college career displaying the same power at the plate she has shown the past two years. In all, Thielges has mashed 19 home runs over the last two seasons, including a team-high seven in 2012. She added a team-high 22 RBIs, 19 walks and a .420 on-base percentage to her final stat line. Thielges belted a career-high two home runs against Utah State in her junior season and she finished among the league leaders in on-base percentage, home runs and hit-by-pitches. She now has 19 career home runs, the ninth-most in school history, and 73 career RBIs, 13 shy of moving into a tie for 10th in program history. She also earned All-Big West First Team honors in 2011 for her work behind the plate.

The Leann Lopez Show

Junior Leann Lopez will look to serve as one of the Matadors' team leaders as an upperclassmen. She produced a career-high two RBIs in the second game of a doubleheader against New Mexico on April 8. Lopez also tied a season high with two hits in the second game of the doubleheader with Oregon State on Mar. 28. Lopez posted a strong week at the plate in Las Vegas at the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic. She hit her first career home run in the Matadors' game against BYU, then picked up her first career two-hit game against Hawai'i. She also had an RBI against Utah State and scored a run against Utah at the tournament. For the year, she was second on the club with 10 walks and had two doubles and eight RBIs. On defense, Lopez sported a .949 fielding percentage in 157 chances.

Tait That Something

Junior Shelly Tait will be one of the Matadors' top arms in the rotation in 2013. In her junior season, Tait went 1-7 with a 4.97 ERA and a .308 opponent batting average in 43.2 innings of work. Against Big West opposition, she finished 1-5 with a 4.29 ERA and .309 opponent batting average in 32.2 innings. She picked up her first win as a Matador in Northridge's 2-1 victory over Long Beach State on April 21. In a complete game effort, Tait scattered five hits and allowed one earned run without walking a batter.

Brianna the Elder

Redshirt freshman Brianna Elder posted a 3.73 ERA in 45 innings in her first full season with the Matadors. Against league opposition, she had a 4.70 ERA in 25.1 innings while holding opponents to a .327 batting average. She had a career-high six strikeouts and eight inning pitched in an extra-innings loss to UC Davis. In her first career appearance as a Matador, Elder helped lead the club in a win over Utah State. Against the Aggies, Elder started and went 4.1 innings allowing four hits, one unearned run and one walk to go along with two strikeouts. She tossed her first complete game and allowed one earned run in eight innings of work at the Northridge Classic.

A Rolling Stone Gathers no Maas

Sophomore Crystal Maas expects to provide plenty of power to the Matador line-up in her second season with the club. In her freshman season, she batted .212 for the season and .259 against the Big West Conference. She collected two doubles and four RBIs for the season.

Randazzo's Return

Senior Korinne Randazzo returns to the Matador line-up after missing nearly all of the 2012 season. Despite appearing only three games last season, she managed to hit a home run, score three runs and steal two bases. In 2011 during her first season with the club, she batted .197 in 45 games with three doubles, 13 runs scored, three stolen bases and four RBIs.

Tyler Transfers Talent to CSUN

Sophomore Jennifer Tyler begins her first season with the Matadors in 2013 after spending two years at Northwestern University. Injuries robbed her from playing in the 2010 season, but in 2011 she posted a 2.55 ERA in six appearances in the circle.

Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN

Sophomore Abby Linn projects as a solid outfielder for the Matadors in her second season with the club. In her freshman season, she finished with a .194 batting average, 13 hits, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Against league opposition, she hit .375 with nine hits and two runs.

Newcomer Notes

The Matadors welcome four true freshman to their roster for the 2012 season: Madalyne Handy, Samantha Jakeway, Maylynn Mitchell and Ariana Wassmer. Handy is a 5-2 outfielder from Phoenix, Ariz., who bring speed, tenacity and energy to the line-up. Jakeway is a 5-7 catcher/utility player who has good power and adds defensive depth. Mitchell is a multi-sport athlete who, at 5-5, projects as a possible infielder for CSUN. Finally, Wassmer is a 5-5 utility player who also projects as an infielder and a powerful addition to the Matadors' batting order. 

Lights, Camera, Action

The Matadors' doubleheader with Long Beach State on April 10, 2013 at 49ers Softball Complex will be broadcast live on ESPNU. The doubleheader will start at 1 p.m. and the two teams will complete the season series a week later with a single game at 3 p.m. also at the 49ers Softball Complex.

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