NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Facing a pair of 2013 NCAA Tournament teams, the Cal State Northridge softball team (1-1) split its first two games of the 2014 season in Tempe, Ariz., at the Kajikawa Classic. After dropping an 11-4 decision to San Jose State in the opener, the Matadors posted an impressive 3-2 victory over Oregon State behind Brianna Elder's career-high 11 strikeouts.
Oregon State Recap
A junior from Concord, Calif., Elder (1-0) put together an outstanding performance in her first appearance of the year. She worked around six hits and two walks to help lead CSUN to a win vs. a Pac-12 opponent for the second-straight year.
Her 11 strikeouts Friday easily eclipsed her previous career best of six. She tossed all seven innings of work Thursday and helped CSUN snap a three-game losing streak to the Beavers. The win was CSUN's first in the series with Oregon State since 2004.
The Beavers stranded multiple baserunners in the fifth and sixth innings as Elder slammed the door on any comeback attempts. The win was CSUN's second vs. the Pac-12 since the 2007 season.
Offensively, rookies led the way again for CSUN. Madison Fleming cranked her first career home run, a solo shot, in the bottom of the second to provide the winning run for the Matadors. In the bottom of the first, fellow freshmen Taylor Nate and Katie Hooper each had RBIs.
Abby Linn and Hooper each had two hits vs. the Beavers. Taylor Glover had a base hit and the Matadors' first stolen base of the 2014 season. Sydney House picked up her first double of the year in the victory.
Melanie Debinski allowed eight hits and three earned run in taking the loss for Oregon State.
SAN JOSE STATE RECAP
The Cal State Northridge softball team lost 11-4 to San Jose State in its first game of the 2014 season. Freshmen Taylor Nate and Katie Hooper each had two RBIs in their first career game for the Matadors.
Nate, a freshman from Meridian, Id., cranked a two-run blast in the bottom of the second to tie the contest with the Spartans. Fellow rookie Aliyah Ricks scored on the play as she was serving as a pinch runner for Sydney House, who had started the inning with a single.
Freshmen again combined to give CSUN two more runs in the third. Carissa Sherman walked to start the frame and moved all the way to third on a single by Taylor Glover. Both came around to score on Hooper's two-run double.
In the circle, CSUN starting pitcher Daphne Pofek ran into trouble in the third. A walk and ground-rule double started the inning before Pofek was able to get two outs with one run coming across the plate. However, a walk and a fielding error prolonged the inning and by the end of it all, the Spartans had scored nine runs on four hits. All but one run in the inning was unearned.
Pofek (0-1) allowed four hits, three unearned runs and five walks in 2.2 innings of work. Ricks tossed 0.2 innings and allowed two hits with three runs. Crystal Maas went the final 2.2 innings of the game without allowing a base hit.
Allison Lang tossed five innings without allowing a hit to earn the win for San Jose State.
The Matadors return to action Saturday with contests against Seattle and Western Michigan.