Matadors Start League Play with Three Games against Tigers
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge softball team (5-21) has a busy week ahead as it plays five times, including its first Big West Conference series of the season. On Wednesday, Mar. 28, the Matadors host Oregon State in a doubleheader at Matador Diamond beginning at 1 p.m. Over the weekend, CSUN then heads North to Stockton, Calif., to face the Pacific Tigers in a three-game series. The teams will play a doubleheader on Mar. 31 and a single game on April 1 with both days beginning at noon.
Last week, CSUN dropped a doubleheader at LMU. In the first game, the Matadors saw the debut of Shelly Tait spoiled by a 9-0, five-inning victory by the Lions. In game two, Madeline Sale hit her first home run of the season and the Matadors got a solid start from Mia Pagano, but LMU prevailed in extra innings, 2-1.
This week, Northridge gets a stiff test in its five games. The Beavers (23-8) took two of three games with in-state rival Oregon over the weekend, winning 5-4 and 7-1 in the final two games. Elizabeth Santana, a transfer from UC Davis, leads the Beavers with a .353 batting average and 36 hits on the season. Oregon State has eight players with over 17 RBIs this season and six players with at least three home runs.
In the circle, Paige Hall leads the Beavers at 10-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 53.2 innings of work. Marina Demore has tossed a team-high 79.2 innings and is 7-1 with a 2.46 ERA. CSUN leads the all-time series with Oregon State 17-5-1, though OSU won the last meeting between the two schools.
Pacific also has a busy week, playing five times as well. The Tigers start the week with a doubleheader at CSU Bakersfield on Mar. 27. At the plate, the Tigers are batting .292 as a team and have slugged a league-high 19 home runs. Nikki Armagost, the current Big West Player of the Week, leads her club in batting average, hits and doubles. Nicole Matson leads the Tigers in home runs, RBIs and on-base percentage.
In the circle, Armagost is 6-3 with a 2.18 ERA and 41 K?s in 64.1 innings of work. Tori Shepherd, the Big West Pitcher of the Week, leads the club in innings pitched and in opponent?s batting average. Dani Bonnet has also seen extensive time in the circle for Pacific, who has a team ERA of under 3.00.
Luck Be Thielges Tonight
Junior and Las Vegas native Mikayla Thielges leads the Matadors with a .265 batting average heading into the series with the Beavers. She hit two home runs during the Matadors? time in San Diego, giving her a team-leading six on the season and 18 for her career. In her first meeting with Utah State, she smashed a career-high two home runs, the first multi-homer game of her career. Among league players, Thielges ranks fifth in slugging (.529), second in home runs (6) and tied for 10th in total bases (36). She has also been hit by a pitch five times this season, which is tied for the second most beanings in the Big West Conference.
Junior Mia Pagano has gone 3-3 with a 2.05 ERA over her past 44.1 innings of work. At the Northridge Classic, she allowed one unearned run in CSUN?s 2-1 win over Maine. Pagano finished with a career-high eight strikeouts twice (BYU, Nevada) during her five appearances at the San Diego Classic I. She tossed her first career shutout and tied a career-high with six strikeouts in the extra-inning victory over the Hawkeyes. For the season, Pagano is 4-10 with a 3.82 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 108 innings of work. She ranks fifth in the Big West Conference in strikeouts, third in innings pitched, seventh in ERA and fourth in appearances (22).
Senior Samantha Sloniker enters the weekend batting .217 for the season. She tied a career-high with two hits against Nevada and scored her first two runs of the season in San Diego. Sloniker had her best offensive weekend at the 2012 Cathedral City Classic. She tied a career-high with two hits against Boise State and also picked up her first RBI of the season against the Broncos as well. She also had four sacrifice hits during the weekend and now is tied for fifth in the league with six.
Brianna the Elder
Redshirt freshman Brianna Elder made quite an impression in her first career appearance as a Matador, leading the club from the pitching circle 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. Last weekend, she tossed her first complete game and allowed one earned run in eight innings of work at the Northridge Classic. Elder has overcome numerous hip and leg injuries to now have finally returned to the diamond.
La Reina De CSUN
Senior Alyssa Ray hit her first career home run, a two-run shot against Nevada, and finished with five RBIs during CSUN?s time in San Diego. She added a two-hit, two-RBI performance in Northridge?s win over Fresno State. 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 is second on the team with the four doubles.
Senior Jaci Carlsen had two doubles and two stolen bases for CSUN during the Northridge Classic. She now ranks in a tie for fifth in school history with 31 doubles for her career. She also ranks fifth in school history with 36 career doubles. She batted over .300 and had two more stolen bases during the Matadors? stay in San Diego. In Northridge?s victory over Fresno State, Carlsen had two hits, two runs and two steals. For the season, Carlsen is tied for eighth in the Big West Conference with her team-leading seven stolen bases.
Time for Madeline
Sophomore Madeline Sale hit her first home run of the season and second of her career in the second game of a doubleheader at LMU last weekend. Sale also hit over .300 during CSUN?s time in San Diego. She tied a career-high with three hits in the Matadors? victory over Utah State and scored a career-high two runs in the win over Fresno State. In fact, the four runs Sale scored in the five games in San Diego represents one more run than she scored in all of her freshman season.
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, 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 leads the team with eight walks.