NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Matadors Face Tough Road Tests at Mustangs, Bruins
The Cal State Northridge softball team (7-29, 2-4 Big West) hits the road for four games over the upcoming weekend, beginning with a three-game league series at Cal Poly on April 14-15. The Matadors and Mustangs will play a doubleheader on Saturday and then a single game on Sunday with both days starting at noon. Once back from San Luis Obispo, Calif., Northridge will travel South down the I-405 to face UCLA in its final non-conference game of the season. Live stats for all four contests will be available at GoMatadors.com and fans are also encouraged to check CSUN Athletic's official Twitter account (@GoMatadors) for in-game updates.
Last week CSUN took its lumps in going 0-5 in a homestand against UC Davis and New Mexico. The Matadors got solid pitching performances from Mia Pagano and Brianna Elder against the Aggies, but the offense could not generate a run in 23 innings of action.
On Easter Sunday, Northridge squared off in a doubleheader against New Mexico. Mia Pagano had five RBIs in the two games for CSUN, breaking the scoreless streak in the 5-1 game one defeat. In game two, CSUN lost 12-10 but produced a season-high 13 hits. Pagano finished a career-high 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs.
This week, CSUN heads up the California coast for a pivotal series with Cal Poly. The Mustangs defeated Fresno State 4-3 Monday night to improve to 9-25 on the season. In Big West play, Cal Poly took one of three home games with Cal State Fullerton but was swept last week at Long Beach State.
At the plate, Kim Westlund leads the Mustangs with a .347 batting average and a .409 on-base percentage. She has five doubles, a triple, two home runs and a team-high 20 RBIs on the season. Madi Vogelsang is second on the team with eight doubles and Mariah Cochiolo and Ashley Romano each have six two-base hits.
In the circle, Chloe Wurst and Jordan Yates will carry the load for Cal Poly. Wurst is 2-12 with a 5.53 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 87.1 innings of work. Yates is 2-7 with a 6.57 ERA and 20 K's in 65 innings of work. On Monday against the Bulldogs, Yates worked around eight hits and four walks in 10 innings as the Mustangs pulled off the victory.
Next Wednesday, CSUN closes out its non-conference schedule with a 2 p.m. contest at No. 16 UCLA. Before facing the Matadors, the Bruins will face three-game Pac-12 series against Stanford and at Washington. The Bruins lead the nation in both team batting average (.363) and in team slugging percentage (.607). In seven games against Big West opposition, UCLA is 7-0 and outscored its opponents 77-14.
Following the game at UCLA, Northridge returns home for consecutive Big West Conference series. On April 21-22, CSUN hosts Long Beach State, then takes on Cal State Fullerton on April 28-29. The teams will play a doubleheader on the first day and then a single game on the second day of both series. All four days will start at noon.
Junior Mia Pagano has seen her pitching numbers improve considerably since the start of the Big West season. In the Matadors' two series, Pagano is 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA and 11 strikeouts. She has held opponents to a .215 batting average in 26 innings of work and four appearances. Pagano picked up two complete game victories at Pacific, helping lead the Matadors to a series victory. For the year, Pagano is 6-12 with a 3.57 ERA in 141 innings of work. 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 then-career-high with six strikeouts in an extra-inning victory over Iowa. She ranks fifth in the Big West Conference in strikeouts (83), third in innings pitched, sixth in ERA and is tied for second in appearances (27). As if her performance in the circle was not enough, Pagano flexed some offensive muscle in the Matadors' doubleheader with New Mexico. In game two, Pagano set new career highs with three hits and four RBIs, the most by a Matador this season. She is batting .294 with three runs and five RBIs.
Time for Madeline
Sophomore Madeline Sale batted .625 with a home run, a double and four RBIs in the Matadors' series victory at Pacific. She had a key two-run double in the game one victory and then added a three-hit performance that included a lead-off home run in the game three win. Sale hit her first home run of the season and second of her career in the second game of a doubleheader at LMU. 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. For the season, Sale is batting a team-high .258 with 11 runs scored, six RBIs, two home runs, nine walks and a .358 on-base percentage.
Brianna the Elder
Redshirt freshman Brianna Elder brings a 1.93 ERA in 32.2 innings of work into the road games at Cal Poly and UCLA. Since the start of league play, Elder has continued to pitch effectively for CSUN. She has a 2.62 ERA in 16 innings of action while also holding opponents to a .250 batting average. She had a career-high six strikeouts and eight inning pitched in an extra-innings loss to UC Davis. In her first career appearance as a Matador, Elder helped lead the club 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. She tossed her first complete game and allowed one earned run in eight innings of work at the Northridge Classic.
Linn-sanity Arrives at Northridge
Freshman Abby Linn has produced three two-hit games since the start of Big West play. She had a very productive weekend for CSUN in its series victory over Pacific, batting a team-high .714 in the three games. She had two hits in both games of a doubleheader on April 1 and added her fifth hit of the weekend in the finale on April 2. Her third two-hit performance came in game one against UC Davis on April 6. This has helped raise her batting average over 100 points in two weeks and she enters the weekend at .196 while also drawing five walks to raise her on-base percentage to .262 for the season.
Senior Samantha Sloniker has also had three two hits games over the last 10 days. She recorded two two-hit performances in the Matadors' series victory at Pacific. In game one, she finished 2-for-4 with a run, a double and an RBI. In game three, she went 2-for-4 again, scored a run and recorded her first stolen base of the season. Finally, she had two hits in game two of a doubleheader against New Mexico on April 8. She had four sacrifice hits at the Cathedral City Classic and now is tied for sixth in the league with six. For the year, Sloniker is batting .211 with two doubles, the team's only triple and three RBIs.
Senior Jaci Carlsen blasted her first home run of the season in the finale of Northridge's three-game series at Pacific. Carlsen now has 20 home runs for her career, tying her for the seventh-most in school history. By also adding two RBIs over the weekend, Carlsen now has 85 for her career, the 10th-most in school history. Finally, Carlsen stole her eighth base of the season during the series and is now tied for fourth in school history with 37 in her career. With two more steals, Carlsen will set a new program Division-I record. 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. For the season, Carlsen is tied for eighth in the Big West Conference with her team-leading eight stolen bases and is batting .226 with 12 runs and five doubles.
Luck Be Thielges Tonight
Junior and Las Vegas native Mikayla Thielges enters the weekend with a .242 batting average. 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 second in home runs (6). She has also been hit by a pitch eight times this season, which is the third-most beanings in the Big West Conference.
La Reina De CSUN
Senior Alyssa Ray had two hits and scored a career-high two runs in game two of a doubleheader with New Mexico. She 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. For the year, Ray is batting .210 with four doubles and six RBIs. She also leads all Big West Conference players with a 97 defensive assists and carries a .925 fielding percentage into the weekend.
The Leann Lopez Show
Sophomore Leann Lopez produced a career-high two RBIs in the second game of a doubleheader against New Mexico on April 8. Lopez also tied a season high with two hits in the second game of the doubleheader with Oregon State on Mar. 28. Lopez posted 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 is second on the club with 10 walks and has two doubles and eight RBIs. On defense, Lopez sports a .951 fielding percentage in 102 chances.