NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Cal State Northridge Hits the Road for Games with Toreros, Aztecs and Mustangs
The Cal State Northridge softball team (21-10) plays five games this week, all of which send the Matadors out on the road. On Wednesday, Mar. 26, the Matadors play a doubleheader in San Diego State at SDSU Softball Stadium. In the first fame, CSUN will face San Diego in a neutral-site contest at 5 p.m. Following the game with the Toreros, the Matadors will face the host Aztecs at 7 p.m. Following the trip to San Diego, the Matadors open the 2014 Big West Conference season with a series at Cal Poly. On Saturday, Mar. 29, CSUN and the Mustangs meet in a doubleheader at Bob Janssen Field starting at noon. The following the day, the two teams meet in a single game at noon. All games will feature live stats available at GoMatadors.com and fans are encouraged to check with CSUN Athletics' official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for updates throughout the week.
Last week, CSUN continued its hot play by going 4-1 in a set of home games at Matador Diamond. The Matadors knocked off Harvard, Pacific and Bakersfield (twice) and have now won 15 of their past 17 games. Taylor Glover collected five extra-base hits, including two home runs, and had eight RBIs while batting .421 in the five games. Abby Linn batted .313 in the five games and collected two runs, two RBIs and two walks. In the circle, Brianna Elder went 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 16.2 innings while Daphne Pofek earned a win over Pacific and recorded her first two career saves. The win over the Crimson was CSUN's first ever in the all-time series.
This week, the Matadors will look to continue their winning ways with games against the Toreros, Aztecs and Mustangs. San Diego is an even 15-15 on the year and has been bolstered by a tough pitching staff. As a group, USD pitchers have held opponents to a .223 batting average in 195 innings of work. Jenny Lahitte (7-7, 2.79 ERA) and Cassidy Coleman (6-7, 2.89 ERA) have combined for 207 strikeouts and a .220 batting average in over 160 innings of work this season. At the plate, Olivia Sandusky is batting .382 with four doubles, six stolen bases and 16 RBIs. Mary Grabowski leads the club with four home runs and 19 RBIs. As a team, USD is batting .270 with 33 doubles and 17 stolen bases. The Toreros have won the past two meetings with CSUN, though the Matadors lead the all-time series 5-2.
San Diego State enters Wednesday's game with a 24-9 record and an 11-4 mark at home this year. The Aztecs are batting .298 as a team in 33 games with 42 doubles and 25 home runs. Sydnee Cable leads the club with a .419 batting average and nine doubles. Patrice Jackson is batting .373 with 13 home runs, 36 RBIs and has already been walked 40 times this season. In the circle, Danielle O'Toole is 17-4 with a 1.67 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 126 innings of work this season. CSUN leads the all-time series with SDSU, but the Aztecs have won the last three meetings.
For the opening series of Big West play, CSUN heads to Cal Poly for three games in San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs enter the week with an 18-11 overall record. Freshman Sierra Hyland has been the team's main pitcher thus far, owning a 15-4 record and a 1.79 ERA with 159 strikeouts in 134 innings of work. At the plate, Hyland is batting .348 with six doubles, three home runs and a team-high 21 RBIs. Emily Ceccacci leads Cal Poly with a .398 batting average and has three triples and 13 RBIs on the year. As a team, the Mustangs are batting .293 and have 47 extra-base hits and 23 stolen bases. CSUN won the series last year by taking two out of three games at Matador Diamond.
Following the trip to San Luis Obispo, the Matadors return home for their first league series of the season by hosting UC Davis in a three-game set. On April 12, the Matadors and Aggies will play a doubleheader starting at noon at Matador Diamond. The following day, the teams will conclude the series with a final game at noon.
Brianna the Elder
Junior Brianna Elder enters conference play as one of the league's top pitchers thus far in 2014. For the season, she is 14-4 with a 2.05 ERA and 88 K's in 105.2 innings of work. She is second in the Big West with 14 wins and ranks second in ERA, second in opponent batting average (.222), third in strikeouts and third in innings pitched. She earned the first Big West Pitcher of the Week award of her career after going 2-0 with a save and a 0.55 ERA in CSUN victories over Utah State and LMU. In the Matadors' home-opening victory over Portland State, Elder struck out a career-high 13 batters and tossed her sixth complete game of the year. Elder then tossed a quick seventh inning in CSUN's victory over Rutgers to earn her second save of the season. She posted complete game victories over New Mexico and UNLV at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Earlier this season, she tossed a complete game with 11 strikeouts in a win vs. Oregon State and picked up her first career save with two innings of work vs. Seattle.
CSUN's Lethal Weapon
Freshman Taylor Glover checks in among the Big West Conference's top five in multiple offensive categories. A rookie center fielder from Los Angeles, Glover is second in batting average (.422), third in slugging (.647) and sixth in on-base percentage (.454). She leads the league with 66 total bases and four triples, is tied for third with 23 runs scored and is second in hits (43) and RBIs (27). Glover earned Big West Player of the Week honors after she batted .533 with three runs scored, five RBIs and two stolen bases as CSUN went 4-0 in games vs. Utah State and LMU. The rookie had two three-hit games at LMU to give her a team-best 12 multi-hit games this season. She also has six multi-RBI games, including two four-RBI performances. Glover is currently on a 15 game hitting streak and batted .421 with two home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs in the Matadors' 4-1 weekend against Harvard, Pacific and Bakersfield. On the basepaths, Glover ranks third in the Big West with 11 stolen bases.
Hooper Drives the Boat Chief
Freshman Katie Hooper has had a strong start to her college career thus far in 2014. The rookie from Sun Valley, Calif., is batting .301 with five doubles on the season. She is second on the team in RBIs with 19, a total that is fifth in the Big West Conference. In a win over Boise State, she became the 28th Matador in program history to hit two home runs in a game. She also has three stolen bases, eight runs scored and a triple on the year. She scored a career-high three runs in a win over Grand Canyon and has had eight two-hit games. Hooper leads the Matadors with seven multi-RBI games, including a career-high four RBIs in the win over Boise State.
Linn-Sanity Comes to CSUN
Junior Abby Linn sports a .340 batting average heading into the Matadors' games this week. For the season, Linn has scored 21 runs, collected 35 hits and has two doubles. After posting zero triples in her first two seasons, Linn has already produced two three-baggers to rank tied for fifth in the Big West Conference. She also is seventh in both hits and runs scored. She batted .412 with a double, a triple and two runs scored in five games at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Through 26 games, Linn is second on the Matadors in multi-hit games with 10, including three three-hit performances. She scored a career-high four runs in a victory over Boise State and led the Matadors with nine base hits at the Kajikawa Classic, batting .526 with two runs and a stolen base. She has 15 steals in her Matador career and they have come in 15 different games.
Bachman Toerner Overdrive
Junior Kaitlin Toerner has made the transition from junior college softball to Division I rather seamlessly in her first season at CSUN. After spending her first two seasons at Bakersfield College, Toerner is batting .389 in 27 games this season. She adds to that 15 runs scored, a double, four RBIs and four stolen bases. Toerner leads the team with five sacrifice bunts, a total that ranks tied for fifth in the Big West Conference. She has had two three-hit games, scored two runs twice and had a season-high two RBIs in the win over UNLV.
The Mitchell Report
Sophomore Maylynn Mitchell enters the weekend with a .263 batting average. She smashed her team-leading third home run of the season in a win over Boise State while also tying a career high with two runs scored in the contest. She hit the first two home runs of her CSUN career at the Kajikawa Classic, going deep against Colorado State and Seattle. For the year, Mitchell checks in with 15 runs, seven RBIs and two stolen bases. She earned All-Big West Honorable Mention honors in 2013 after a solid rookie year for the Matadors. Originally from Seattle, Wash., Mitchell batted .280 with 13 runs, four doubles, 14 RBIs, three sac bunts and two stolen bases.
It's Not Just Great, It's Pofek
Freshman Daphne Pofek has come on strong lately for the Matadors in the pitching circle. A freshman from Riverside, Calif., Pofek is 4-3 on the season with two saves and a 4.04 ERA. She picked up the first two saves of her career and a win over Pacific last week. Against Utah State, she tossed a career-high eight innings and totaled a career-high six strikeouts. She picked up first career win with 4.2 innings of one-hit relief work in a victory over Georgetown. She ranks 10th in the Big West in ERA and ninth in opponent batting average (.274). Pofek is also batting .235 at the plate and had a career-high two hits and two RBIs in the victory over Toledo.
Taylor the Nate
Freshman Taylor Nate collected five hits in the Matadors' doubleheader sweep at LMU, raising her batting average to .338 for the season. She has three home runs on the year, including a grand slam in a victory over Grand Canyon, and is third on the squad with 16 RBIs on the season. She has seven multi-hits games on the year, including a career-high three hits in the second victory over the LMU Lions. She also has three multi-RBI games on the year and three stolen bases. Nate has scored 10 runs and sports a .960 fielding percentage in 99 defensive chances.
Senior Tanna Bindi is batting .214 with six runs scored, two doubles, a triple and six RBIs in 29 games this year. She had two RBIs in Matador wins over Portland State and Oregon State. She also recorded her third career triple in the victory over the Vikings as well. Bindi has had a fine defensive season thus far as well, sporting a .994 fielding percentage with one error in 166 chances. Originally from Stockton, Calif., Bindi batted a career-high .225 with two doubles, two triples, two home runs and 14 RBIs in the 2013 season. She showed a flair for the dramatic in 2013; her first career home run was a walk-off blast that lifted CSUN to a win over UCLA. She also executed a suicide squeeze in extra innings to down Pacific and dropped in a two-run single in the Matadors' victory over Long Beach State on ESPNU.
We're All Making Sacrifices around Here
CSUN has recorded 18 sacrifice bunts through its first 31 games of 2014 with Kaitlin Toerner leading the squad with five. That total is tied for fifth in the Big West Conference while Taylor Glover and Tanna Bindi are tied for 10th with four apiece to their credit. As a team, CSUN is sixth in the league. In 2013, the Matadors finished second in the Big West Conference with 62 sacrifice bunts. Among the returning players, Abby Linn had seven last year and owns nine for career. Bindi had six last year and owns a team-high 15 for her career. Over the past five years, CSUN has averaged over 51 sacrifice bunts per season. During that span, CSUN has finished no worse than fourth among all Big West clubs in the category.
Double or Triple Your Pleasure
Twelve different Matadors have recorded a double in 2014 thus far, led by Taylor Glover's six on the year. That total ranks tied for seventh in the Big West Conference. Katie Hooper is second on the team with five doubles and with 26 doubles in 31 games, CSUN is eighth in the Big West Conference. In 2013, CSUN smashed 65 doubles, which tied for second in the Big West Conference and represented 30 more than they had in 2012. Among the returning players, Sydney House and Crystal Maas were second on the team with eight. Five other returning players had at least two on the season. Surprisingly, all the extra-base hits last year produced just two triples, both coming off the bat of Tanna Bindi. This year, the Matadors are second in the conference with eight triples. Taylor Glover owns half that total to tie for the lead in the Big West. Abby Linn already has two triples, the first two of her CSUN career, and Bindi picked up the third of her career in CSUN's win over Portland State.
Taking One for the Team
CSUN batters have been hit by a pitch just eight times in 2014 through 31 games, by far the fewest in the Big West Conference. The Matadors were hit by a pitch a league-high 53 times in 2013. In fact, CSUN has led the Big West Conference in HBP in three of the last five seasons: 2010, 2012, 2013. Among the returning players, sophomore Maylynn Mitchell was hit 11 times in 2013, the third-most beanings in the Big West Conference. Leann Lopez was hit four times while fellow senior Tanna Bindi was plunked three times last year. Since the 2009 season, CSUN has averaged over 46 hit-by-pitches per season and led the Big West in 2010, 2012 and 2013.