Matadors Hit the Road for 2012 Cathedral City Classic
Matadors Back in Cathedral City for the First Time Since 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge softball team (0-10) remains on the road this weekend with a five-game slate at the prestigious Cathedral City Classic. The event, which is hosted by Oregon State, features teams from across the United States, including nationally ranked squads from Florida and Georgia. During their time in the California desert, the Matadors will take on teams Boise State, No. 8 Texas, Iowa, No. 1 California and future Big West Conference member San Diego State. All contests will be held at Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City, Calif.
Although still in search of their first win of the season, the Matadors continue to show flashes that they are getting closer. Junior Mikayla Thielges hit two home runs in Northridge's loss to Utah State, the first multi-homer game of her career. Senior Jaci Carlsen added two doubles and three stolen bases during the weekend, raising her career totals further up the school record charts in both categories. Sophomore Leann Lopez hit her first career home run and also collected her first multi-hit game during the weekend.
Next week the Matadors close out their time on the preseason tournament roadtrip, heading to Santee, Calif., to compete in the San Diego Classic I. At the tournament, CSUN's five games will feature contests with BYU, Fresno State, Utah State, Nevada and San Diego. All contests will take place at the Santee Sportsplex, located off the 52 Highway in San Diego County.
Following their stay in San Diego, the Matadors will host their 2012 home opener as part of the Northridge Classic. At the event, CSUN will take on the likes of Harvard and Maine while also hosting squads from Oregon State and CSU Bakersfield. All contests will take place at Matador Diamond and a complete tournament schedule can be found at GoMatadors.com. In fact, the Northridge Classic kicks off a stretch were CSUN will play nine of 11 games at the friendly confines of their home diamond before the start of Big West Conference play against Pacific.
Luck Be Thielges Tonight
Junior Mikayla Thielges hit a career-high two home runs in the Matadors' game against Utah State in Las Vegas, the first multi-homer game of her career. She now has 15 home runs for her career, including her only hit of the Kajikawa Classic count, mashing a home run in CSUN's loss to Syracuse. Thielges had a huge offensive season for the Matadors during her sophomore campaign, earning All-Big West First Team honors as a catcher. She finished the year with a .317 batting average and set new career highs with 22 runs, 40 hits, five doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 45 RBIs, 83 total bases and 29 walks. Thielges added 10 multi-hit and 11 multi-RBI games during the season and batted .382 with three home runs and 15 RBIs during Big West play.
Senior Jaci Carlsen had two hits and three stolen bases during the Matadors' stay in Las Vegas. She now has 28 career doubles, the ninth-most in school history, and 31 career stolen bases, the sixth-most in CSUN history. Carlsen is coming off two-straight All-Big West First Team seasons for her work at second base. Last year, Carlsen hit .327 for the season with a career-high 50 hits, 31 runs, 12 doubles, nine home runs, 91 total bases, 23 walks and 19 stolen bases. Those 19 steals established a new program single-season Division-I record.
The Leann Lopez Show
Sophomore Leann Lopez had 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 and 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 season, she is batting .267 with a .353 on-base and a 1.000 fielding percentage.
La Reina De CSUN
Senior Alyssa Ray had a strong week at the plate to start her 2012 season. At the Kajikawa Classic, Ray started all five games at third base and finished the weekend with a .571 batting average. She had her first career hit, an RBI ground rule double, against Nebraska and then had two hits, including another ground rule double, against Western Michigan. She ended the weekend with a double against Arizona and leads the team and the Big West Conference with the three doubles.
Time for Madeline
Sophomore Madeline Sale had a strong rookie season for the Matadors in 2011. Playing primarily at first base, Sale batted .311 with 46 hits, nine doubles, one home run and 25 RBIs while starting 52 of the team's 53 games. She was especially potent against Big West opposition, finishing at .348 with 22 hits, six doubles, one home run and 16 RBIs in 21 conference games. Her only home run of the season came in a dramatic spot, a three-run shot that lifted CSUN to a 3-0 win at Cal State Fullerton. She also had four three-hit games on the year and had a .980 fielding percentage in 303 chances.
Junior Mia Pagano enters her third season at CSUN ready to assume a greater role in the circle for the Matadors. Last season, she went 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 51.2 innings of work. Both wins last season came against Big West opponents, including her first career complete game in a win over Pacific. Pagano also recorded her first save of the season and third of her career in the Matadors' comeback victory over Cal Poly on May 1. For her career, Pagano is 3-7 with a 4.60 ERA and three saves, 42 strikeouts and 94.1 innings of work.
Junior Samantha Sloniker returns for her final season with the Matadors looking to build off a successful junior season. In 2011, her first year at Northridge, Sloniker had 25 hits, three doubles, two home runs, 13 RBIs and scored 26 runs. She also had six sacrifice hits, the second-most on the team, and added two sac flies. Additionally, Sloniker added four two-hit games and six two-run games during the year. A dependable arm in the outfield, Sloniker finished the season with a .955 fielding percentage after also seeing some time at shortstop.
CSUN will look to continue aggressively attacking the basepaths in 2012. Last season, Northridge finished second in the Big West Conference with 48 stolen bases as a team. Individually, Jaci Carlsen led all league players with 19 stolen bases, setting a new school single-season Division-I record. Among other returners for the Matadors who will look to engage in the art of base stealing are Korinne Randazzo (three steals in 2012), Leann Lopez, Tanna Bindi and newcomers Abby Linn and Serena Hernandez.
I Have the Power
Northridge packed a powerful punch at the plate in 2011. As a team. the Matadors led the Big West Conference in home runs (36) and in sac flies (13). The team also finished fourth among the eight league clubs in slugging percentage (.382), runs (195), RBIs (181), total bases (500) and third with 139 walks drawn. Individually, Mikayla Thielges finished second in the conference in slugging percentage (.659), home runs (12) and RBIs (45). Her teammate Jaci Carlsen also posted a powerful season, finishing fourth in the league in slugging percentage (.595), fifth in doubles (12) and fourth in home runs (9).