NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge softball team (5-4) scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to defeat Toledo 9-8 Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev., as part of the Easton Desert Classic. In its first game Saturday, CSUN put up a fight but lost 6-0 to No. 1 Florida.
In a wild finish, CSUN downed Toledo 9-8 in its second game Saturday. The Matadors trailed 8-4 entering the top of the seventh inning only to score five runs and take the victory.
Carissa Sherman led off the inning with an infield single and with one out, moved to third on a single from Daphne Pofek. With Ariana Wassmer running for Pofek, Sherman scored when Madison Fleming reached on an error by the shortstop.
Following a fielder's choice that cut Wassmer down at third, Rebecca Bell reached on another fielding error by the shortstop with Fleming scoring on the play. From there, Jordan Sauceda delivered a pinch-hit, two-run, two-out double to plate Bell and Maylynn Mitchell and tie the game.
Kaitlin Toerner re-entered the game to run for Sauceda at second. She advanced to third and Abby Linn reached safely on a third fielding error by the Toledo shortstop. That left it up to Taylor Glover, who brought in Toerner for the winning run with a single down the right field line.
The comeback effort was not lost on CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers.
"It took us a while, but we finally made some adjustments at the plate. We started hitting the ball hard and finally put the pressure on the defense in the seventh," Flowers said. "We capitalized on the mistakes the defense made and kept the momentum on our side. Daphne and Jordan came in, took their hacks and it is great to see them get some payoff. The team definitely rallied behind each other."
Brianna Elder (4-1) tossed the final 4.1 innings for CSUN to earn the win. She had three strikeouts while surrendering five hits and four earned runs. Crystal Maas started the game for CSUN and went 2.2 innings, but the Rockets led 7-1 after four complete innings of work.
The Matadors' comeback started in the top of fifth when they scored three runs on three hits. Pofek blasted a two-run double that scored Sherman and Maas. With Aliyah Ricksrunning for Pofek, Maylynn Mitchell reached on a Toledo error and Ricks scored on the play.
Pofek finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Madalyne Handy, Maas, Glover and Fleming each had two hits and the Matadors finished with 12 base hits as team. Glover had a stolen base, Maas had a double and Toerner added a sacrifice bunt in the victory.
"Almost everyone contributed. Handy, with as many pitchers as we have, has helped us in the bullpen and we saw some potential with her at catcher," Flowers added. "We had struggled some with receiving, but Madalyne has a done good job at that and keeping the ball in front of her."
Facing the No. 1 team in the nation, CSUN lost 6-0 to Florida in its first game Saturday.
Brianna Elder (4-1) took the loss for the Matadors in the circle. She held the Gators off the scoreboard for the first two innings, but allowed a pair of unearned runs in the second.
Florida added solo home runs in the fifth and sixth inning to chase Elder from the circle. Rebecca Bell went 1.1 innings without allowing a hit, but surrendered four walks and two earned runs. Daphne Pofek tossed the final 0.2 innings for CSUN.
Offensively, the Matadors finished with four hits against Florida's Hannah Rogers. Maylynn Mitchell had two base hits while Taylor Glover added a double and Kaitlin Toerner picked up another sacrifice bunt.
The Matadors conclude their time at the Easton Desert Classic on Sunday, Feb. 16 with a game against No. 10 Oregon. First pitch is slated for 11:15 a.m.