March 4, 2010

Northridge Softball Hosts Matador Invitational

March 4, 2010

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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The Cal State Northridge softball team (5-9) continues to spend its time at Matador Diamond, hosting the Matador Invitational this weekend. CSUN, which is on a four-game winning streak, welcomes Iowa, Santa Clara, Saint Mary's and Cal State Bakersfield to the San Fernando Valley for 12 games of fastpitch this weekend.

The Matadors are riding a successful streak that saw them beat Michigan State three times on Sunday, including two come-from-behind victories. Christina Saenz batted .571 last week in four games, earning Big West Player of the Week honors. Jaclyn Rymer and Alexandria Alvarado also batted over .500 for the week and Hannah Fraijo and Amanda Pitzenberger each had two wins in the circle for CSUN.

Through 14 games, Northridge already has some notes emerging from the statistics. Saenz and Jennier Mosier rank among the league leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Fraijo and Pitzenberger are among the league's top pitchers in ERA and batting average-against. CSUN has already hit seven home runs this season after nine all of last year. Matador batters also lead the league in hit-by-pitches (15) and are second in sac bunts (11).

The homestand continues with the Matador Invitational. Northridge faces Iowa twice Friday, Santa Clara on Saturday and Saint Mary's and Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday. The two games with the Hawkeyes will be fourth and fifth-straight games against a Big 10 opponent and their six and seventh games against the league for the Matadors in 2010. The three PCSC opponents represent opportunities for important regional victories.

Scheduling Story

A look at the CSUN's 2010 schedule reveals a slate of games filled with quality opponents that should give the Matadors a high RPI and strength-of-schedule. In fact, the 2010 schedule features 26 games against 17 opponents who competed in the NCAA Tournament. In terms of RPI, Northridge will play 18 opponents and 29 games, 15 of which are home contests, against clubs that had an RPI ranked in the top 100 at the end of the 2009 season. The Matadors finished 2009 with a final RPI of 81 and a strength-of-schedule of 96.

Defensive Dynamos

A staple of the Matadors in Coach Sparrey's tenure has been defensive acumen. The Matadors finished the 2009 season ranked 46th in the nation and third in the Big West Conference with a .967 fielding percentage. The team also finished 23rd in the nation in double plays per contest (0.42) finishing with 21 double plays in 50 games. Through 14 games in 2010, CSUN ranks fourth in the Big West with a .968 fielding percentage, committing only 13 errors in 411 chances.

Basepaths Beware

Northridge finished the 2009 season with a league-high 62 stolen bases in 80 chances. At an average of 1.24 per game, the Matadors ranked 65th in Division I. In 2010, Northridge is 9-of-15 in stolen base attempts. Tracy Allen, Jaci Carlsen, Jennifer  Mosier and Lauren Olivas have each stolen two bags thus far. Jaclyn Rymer ranks seventh in school history with 29 steals.

We're All Making Sacrifices around Here

The Matadors finished second in the Big West with 55 sac bunts in 2009. Northridge has picked right where they left off in 2010, posting 12 sac bunts through its first 14 games, the second-most in the conference. Amanda Pitzenberger leads the squad with three while Christina Saenz and Alexandria Alvarado each have two sacrifices to their credit.

Taking One for the Team

Cal State Northridge batters finished the 2009 season having been plunked 43 times, the second-most in the Big West Conference. This year, CSUN has been plunked a league-high 15 times through 14 games. Alexandria Alvarado and Krystal Raphael have worn the biggest bulls-eye thus far, having been hit three times each.

Senior Story

The 2010 Matadors feature six seniors, five of whom started as freshman together in the 2007 season. Alexandria Alvarado, Lauren Olivas, Amanda Pitzenberger, Jaclyn Rymer and Christina Saenz all share numerous conference, school and individual honors entering their final season at CSUN. Add to that Debbie Duran, a transfer who earned all-league honors in 2009, and the class hopes to go out like the came in: with an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Saenz of the Times

Senior Christina Saenz took home her third career Big West Player of the Week honors Mar. 1 after batting .571 in the Matadors' four games last week. She blasted her first two home runs of the season in the triple header against Michigan State and now leads the team with a .378 batting average, .595 slugging percentage and .452 on-base percentage. She also has a team-high 14 hits, 22 total bases and two sac bunts.

Getting the Lo-Down

Senior Lauren Olivas batted .333 for the Matadors last week, scoring three runs. At the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament, she smashed her first career home run against Portland State on Sunday. For the season, Olivas is batting .267 and is second on the team with eight runs scored and 12 hits. She also leads the team with two stolen bases.

Rymer and Reason

Senior Jaclyn Rymer hit .583 in CSUN's four games last week, scoring four times and adding two RBIs and her first double of the season. She raised her season average to .282 and also owns a .370 on-base percentage. Rymer is seventh in school history with her 29 career steals, one shy of tying Michelle McAnany and Anna Getherall for fifth all time. She also tied two school records in 2009, collecting five hits against Cal State Bakersfield and recording three steals against UC Riverside.

Run Forrest Run

Junior Jennifer Mosier batted .333 last week for Northridge, collecting the game-winning RBI at San Diego State. She also had her first two stolen bases of the year last week and Mosier now ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.345, 8th), slugging percentage (.586, 6th) and on-base percentage (.441, 8th). Mosier also leads the team with two home runs and is third with six RBIs.

Pitz The Truth

Senior Amanda Pitzenberger tossed two complete game victories for Northridge last week, moving her season record to 3-1. She also sports a 3.45 ERA and .253 batting-average against, figures that rank among the top 10 pitchers in the Big West Conference. Pitzenberger has waked only eight batters in 24.1 innings of work.

She Certainly Ain't Hannah Montana

Sophomore Hannah Fraijo pitched well for Northridge against Michigan State, tossing 12.0 innings of seven-hit softball to earn her first two victories of the season. Fraijo leads the team with 30 strikeouts and sports a team-best 3.41 ERA and a .254 batting average-against. All three of those numbers are among the top figures in the conference.

Double A Keeps Going and Going and Going and Going and Going

Senior Alexandria Alvarado leads the team with 10 runs scored in 2010, and enters the Matador Invitational with a .265 batting average. She hit an even .500 against Michigan State, scoring four times and stealing a base. Her on-base percentage checks in at .409 after having drawn a team-high six walks and being hit three times.

Reno 911

Sophomore Jaci Carlsen enjoyed the trip to San Diego State, finishing with a career-high three hits and career-high three RBIs. She was a home run short of hitting for the cycle against the Aztecs. For the year, she is batting .222 with a team-high eight RBIs and three runs scored. She also has a double, triple and home run on the year and sports a .444 slugging and .313 on-base percentage.

Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture

Junior Tracy Allen hit .300 in the three-game series against Michigan State, driving in three runs and stealing a base. She is second on the squad with seven RBIs and owns a .256 batting average and .319 on-base percentage for the season. Allen also has a team-high three doubles and has one home run.

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