RIVERSIDE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge softball team (10-38, 5-12 Big West) lost twice to UC Riverside Saturday afternoon in a Big West doubleheader at Amy S. Harrison Field. In game one, the CSUN offense could not support a strong start from Mia Pagano and lost 1-0. In game two, the Matadors came back from four runs down to tie the contest, but UCR scored a two-out run in the fifth to sweep the doubleheader.
The first game at Amy S. Harrison Field was not one to remember for the Matador offense. No Northridge starter had a hit and the team's only tally in the category came from Crystal Maas in a pinch hit role to start the sixth inning.
Not to say CSUN did not have their chances. The Matadors loaded the bases with no outs in the second. However what appeared to be a routine sacrifice fly became a crushing double play as the runner from third was called out for leaving early.
The lack of offense was not limited to the Matadors. UCR did not get its first hit until the fourth inning and that runner was picked off in the inning to keep the game scoreless. Brittany Keeney then started the fifth with a solo shot to right, the game's only run.
Pagano (8-16) allowed three hits with the one earned run and also had seven strikeouts. Jordyn McDonald earned the win by fanning seven as well.
In game two, the Highlanders carried the momentum over and scored three runs in the first off Northridge starter Shelly Tait.
CSUN's bats finally came alive in the top of the second. Mikayla Thielges started the frame with a leadoff single and she moved to second on after Maas was hit by a pitch. Jessica Fridwall then executed a sac bunt to move the runners up a base.
After a groundout, Alyssa Ray delivered a two-run, two-out single to draw the Matadors within one. She now has 11 RBIs on the season.
The Highlanders added one run of their own in the inning and led 4-2 heading to the top of the third. Sam Sloniker drew a one-out walk and moved to third on Thielges' fifth double of the season.
Maas then brought Sloniker home with an RBI single and Tanna Bindi added a two-out RBI single in the frame to tie the game.
UC Riverside scored the winning run on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Jojo Mendoza. In earning the win, Taylor Alvarez retired 13-straight batters, setting down the side in order from the fourth inning to the end of the game.
CSUN will look to salvage the series with a win Sunday in the series finale. First pitch from Amy S. Harrison Field is slated for noon.