Matadors Fall Twice to New Mexico on Easter Sunday

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge softball team (7-29) lost twice to New Mexico Sunday afternoon in a non-conference doubleheader at Matador Diamond. In game one, CSUN got a complete game from Shelly Tait, but the Lobos prevailed 5-1. In game two, Northridge jumped out to an early lead only to see New Mexico come back and build too big a lead for a seventh-inning comeback.

Tait, a transfer making her third start of the season, held the Lobos to five hits and five walks in her first complete game of the season. Unfortunately, Stefanie Carramusa led off the game with solo home run and the Lobos added an unearned run in the third and hit a three-run home run in the fifth to seal the win. 

On offense, Mia Pagano broke up a long scoreless streak with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. Making her first start of the season, Serena Hernandez had two hits and Jessica Fridwall had a hit and scored the Matador run.

Carrie Sheehan earned the win and Kaela DeBroeck picked up the save for the Lobos. 

In game two, the Matadors jumped out for three runs in the first off DeBroeck. Madeline Sale was hit by a pitch to start the inning and then moved to third on a double by Mikayla Thielges. Leann Lopez singled up the middle to score both and Alyssa Ray singled in the next at-bat.

After Lopez was thrown out at third on a double-steal attempt, Fridwall doubled to bring home Ray and give the Matadors a 3-0 lead. 

New Mexico scored twice in the second off CSUN starter Alexa Limon, but the Matadors had an answer in their half of the inning. Thiielges drew a bases loaded walk with one out, but the next two batters both recorded outs to end the rally. 

In the third, New Mexico hit a solo home run, but Northridge responded with two more runs to stretch the lead to 6-3. Fridwall walked and Hernandez reached on fielding error by the first baseman. Tiffini Lucero laid down a sac bunt and that brought up Pagano, who then laced a two-run single into left field. 

However, Northridge ran into trouble in the top of the fourth. The Lobos batted around, chasing Limon from the circle and scoring six runs in the frame to take a 9-6 lead. Crystal Maas, who replaced Limon, gave up two-run shot in the fifth to stretch UNM's lead to 11-6.

Brianna Elder then replaced Maas in the circle and allowed a solo home run over the final 2.2 innings of work. 

Down 12-6 heading into the bottom of the seventh, CSUN nearly pulled off a dramatic rally. Ray singled to start the inning and then Hernandez drew a one-out walk. Lucero then singled up the middle to score Ray and an error on the play left runners on second and third. 

Pagano then picked up her second two-run single of the game and drew the Matadors to within 12-9. The next batter, Sale, was hit by a pitch and brought the tying run to the plate in Samantha Sloniker.

She grounded into a fielder's choice where New Mexico got an out at second, but then made a throwing error that allowed Pagano to come all the way around from second and leave Sloniker at first. However, Thieges grounded out to third to end the game. 

Limon (0-5) allowed 10 hits and eight earned runs with three walks in 3.1 innings of work. Kari Gutierrez tossed the final 6.0 innings for New Mexico and allowed five earned runs to earn the win. 

Northridge hits the road for its next four games. The Matadors face Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in a three-game series on April 14-15. Then on April 18, Northridge travels to face UCLA in Los Angeles. 

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