STOCKTON, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge softball team (7-24, 2-1 Big West) defeated Pacific 5-4 Monday afternoon in the finale of both team's Big West Conference opening series. Madeline Sale had three hits, including a lead-off home run in the first, and Mia Pagano earned another complete game win for the Matadors.
After splitting a doubleheader the day before, the Matadors earned the series victory behind some timely hitting and defense. Pagano (6-11) scattered seven hits and did not walk a batter against a powerful Pacific line-up to record her second win of the weekend.
At the plate, Sale had matched a season and career high with three hits. Samantha Sloniker had two hits and Crystal Maas delivered a key two-run single. Finally, Jaci Carlsen hit her first home run of the season in the top of the seventh for what proved to be the winning run.
"It feels good to come up here and win a series against a very good team," CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers said. "We came out today with good energy and played our game very well. It has been a tough season, but it is nice to see this team continue to battle and never give up."
The Matadors got out of the gate quickly Monday afternoon. Madeline Sale sent the second pitch of the game over the left field wall for her second home run of the season. Then with the bases loaded and one out, Crystal Maas delivered a two-run single and then moved to second on a throwing error.
In the second, Sale and Samantha Sloniker strung together consecutive singles and Sale scored her second run of the game on an RBI single by Mikayla Thiegles.
Pacific got two back in its half of the second, plating both on a two-run double. The Tigers added another in the third, but CSUN starter Mia Pagano avoided further damage and left the Northridge lead intact.
Nothing would happen for either team until the seventh inning. With one out and CSUN nursing a one-run lead, Jaci Carlsen blasted her first home run of the season, a solo shot, to extend the Matadors' lead. The home run was the 20th of her career, moving her into a tie for seventh in school history.
Pacific started its half of the seventh with a lead-off double. With one out, the Tigers got an RBI single. However, Pagano got the final two outs, including a strikeout to end the game, to preserve the win and give CSUN the opening series of league play.
Dani Bonnet (6-5) took the loss for Pacific, going the first two innings with four earned runs.
CSUN hosts UC Davis in a three-game series at Matador Diamond with a doubleheader on April 6 and a single game on April 7. Both days start at noon.
Then on Easter Sunday, the Matadors host New Mexico in a doubleheader slated to start at 11 a.m.