March 24, 2011

Northridge Softball Travels to Tucson For Three-Game Series with No. 9 Arizona

March 24, 2011

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - CSUN Gets Pre-Conference Test from Wildcats

The Cal State Northridge softball team (12-15) heads to the Old Pueblo of Tucson, Ariz., to face No. 9 Arizona in a three-game series at Hillenbrand Stadium from Mar. 25-27. Coming off a 4-3 week and some dramatic victories, the Matadors are eager for the challenges that await them with three games against the Wildcats.

In their action last week, CSUN put together a 4-3 record behind some timely hitting and pitching. The Matadors swept a doubleheader with North Dakota on Mar. 15 on a walk-off three-run home run by Mikayla Thielges. On the day, the sophomore catcher had two home runs and seven RBIs.

Northridge then went 2-3 at the San Diego Classic II. After a tough opening day in which Northridge dropped a pair of close contests, CSUN responded with a 6-1 victory over Ohio State in which four different Matadors homered (Kristen Mihm, Tracy Allen, Jaci Carlsen, Mikayla Thielges). They followed that up with a 7-6 victory over Ohio before falling 4-3 in extra innings to San Diego on the final day of the tournament.

In its final preseason roadtrip of the year, CSUN faces a talented and tough ninth-ranked Arizona team. The Wildcats are 26-8 on the season and own a .335 team batting average with 217 runs scored. Brittany Lastrapes leads the club with a .510 batting average, 11 doubles and 37 runs scored. Stacie Chambers is closing in on the NCAA career record for home runs and has 12 on the season with 43 RBIs.

In the circle, Arizona has thrown only two pitchers, but Kenzie Fowler and Shelby Babcock have combined to limit opponents to a .232 batting average and post a 2.57 ERA through 34 games. Fowler is 16-4 with a 1.93 ERA and has 132 strikeouts in 112.1 innings of work. Babcock is 10-2 with a 3.37 ERA and 78 K's in 89.1 innings of work.

CSUN has not defeated a Pac-10 opponent since the Matadors triumphed 3-2 over Oregon State on Mar. 7, 2004. Northridge and Arizona have met 27 times on the diamond in their history, most famously in the 1994 NCAA Championships. In just their second year as a full member of Division-I, the Matadors fell 4-0 to the Wildcats on May 30, 1994 in the first Softball National Championship game to be broadcast on ESPN.

Arizona has won the past three meetings between the squads and 17 of the past 19 contests. CSUN recorded a 4-3 victory over Arizona on Mar. 15, 2002 at the Cal State Fullerton Kia Classic in their last win in the series.

Reno 911 --- Big West Player of the Week

Junior Jaci Carlsen terrorized pitchers last week, batting a robust .619 (13-for-21) in the Matadors' seven games. The junior from Reno, Nev., had six extra-base hits (three doubles, a triple and two home runs) while scoring six runs, stealing three bases and driving in five RBIs. Carlsen's home run against Ohio on Mar. 20 was the 15th of her career, tying her with teammate Tracy Allen and Sandra Milchiker for 10th in school history. She tied a career high with four hits at San Diego and three runs scored against Ohio on Mar. 20. For the season, Carlsen leads the Matadors and ranks fifth in the Big West with a .390 batting average. She also leads the league with 53 total bases and checks in at third in slugging percentage (.688), eighth in on-base percentage (.447), fourth in home runs (5) and second in stolen bases (7). Carlsen has started every game at second base for Northridge and owns a .947 fielding percentage in 132 chances.

Thielges Do Us Part

Sophomore Mikayla Thielges leads the Big West Conference with nine home runs and 30 RBIs on the season. In the Matadors' seven games last week, Thielges batted .438 with three home runs, 12 RBIs and a .600 on-base percentage. She had seven RBIs in the Matadors' doubleheader sweep over North Dakota, including a three-run walk-off home run in CSUN's game two victory. She also had three RBIs in the Matadors' win gainst Ohio. For the season, Thielges is hitting .286 with a .429 on-base percentage, which ranks 10th in the Big West, and a team-best .762 slugging percentage, the best figure in the league. She has a three-hit game (Nevada) and driven in a career-high four RBIs on two separate occasions (San Jose State, North Dakota). For the season, Thielges owns a .963 fielding percentage in 82 chances.

Carly's Wade With Words

Freshman Carly Wade had a nice week for the Matadors last week, posting a 2-1 record with a save and a 2.07 ERA. She picked up her second win in the Matadors' dramatic comeback victory over North Dakota on Mar. 15 and then tossed five innings of relief work in the win against Ohio State on Mar. 19. Finally, she tossed 2.1 innings of one-hit softball to nail down the Matadors' 7-6 decision over Ohio on Mar. 20. For the season, the rookie is 3-10 with a 5.23 ERA, 35 strikeouts and a team-best .279 batting-average-against. Wade is now tied for the league lead with her two saves.

Run Forrest Run

Senior Jennifer Mosier leads the Matadors and Big West Conference with 10 stolen bases on the season after picking up four in the Matadors' games last week. The four thefts gives her 31 for her career, the fifth most in school history and a new program Division-I record. In her three seasons at Northridge, Mosier has been successful on 91 percent (31-of-34) of stolen base attempts. Mosier tied a school record with three steals in the Matadors' win over Portland State on Feb. 13 and set a school Division-I record with 18 stolen bases in 2010. She also adds eight runs scored, a home run and four RBIs on the year.

Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture

Senior Tracy Allen cranked her fourth home run of the season and 15th of her career in the Matadors' victory over Ohio State on Mar. 19. The 15 career deep flies ties her with teammate Jaci Carlsen and Sandra Milchiker for 10th in school history. Allen ranks sixth in the league with the four home runs and checks in at sixth in the Big West Conference with 16 RBIs. She now has 74 career RBIs, seven shy of tying Jan Mosier for 10th in school history. Allen has started all 27 games for Northridge at third base and owns a .971 fielding percentage, including a league-high 71 defensive assists.

It Certainly Ain't Hannah Montana

Junior Hannah Fraijo currently stands at 8-4 on the year, giving her a career record of 33-16 in two-plus seasons at Northridge. The eight wins are the second-most by a pitcher in the Big West and she also owns a team-best 4.87 ERA. She has tossed six complete games on the year and has 27 K's and a .317 batting-average-against in a team-high 87.2 innings (fourth-most in the Big West Conference). Fraijo also has a save on the season, giving her three for her career.

Time for Madeline

Freshman Madeline Sale is second on the team with a .306 batting average through the first 27 games of her collegiate career. A rookie from Yorba Linda, Calif., Sale has 22 hits, three doubles and eight RBIs on the season. She has produced two three-hit performances (Nevada, Southern Miss) while drawing eight walks to raise her on-base percentage to .370 for the season. After starting the season as the team's Designated Player, Sale has now started the majority of games at first base for CSUN and owns a .979 fielding percentage in 145 chances. She ranks fifth in the Big West Conference in chances and put-outs (134).

Sloniker's Story

Junior Samantha Sloniker leads the Matadors and Big West Conference with 19 runs scored on the season, her first at Northridge. She adds to that 20 hits, a double, two home runs, eight RBIs and a stolen base on the season. She homered against Boise State and Murray State and is tied for the team lead with two sac bunts. Sloniker has started every game for the Matadors in right field and owns a .977 fielding percentage in 34 chances, including five assists, on the year.

I Have the Power

Northridge continues to pack a powerful punch at the plate in 2011. The Matadors currently lead the Big West Conference in home runs (24) and sac flies (9) and rank second in the league in slugging percentage (.395), RBIs (93), triples (4), total bases (259) and stolen bases (25). Sophomore Mikayla Thielges leads the conference in home runs (9), RBIs (30) and slugging percentage (.762). Jaci Carlsen ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.390; fifth), slugging percentage (.688; third) and home runs (5; fourth). Carlsen also leads the league in total bases (53) while Thielges is second with 48.

Basepaths Beware

Under head coach Tairia Flowers, CSUN has been aggressively attacking the basepaths. The Matadors are second in the Big West Conference with 25 stolen bases and Jennifer Mosier leads the league with 10 steals and Jaci Carlsen is tied for second with a career-high seven. Korinne Randazzo adds three steals and Kristen Mihm and Tracy Allen each have two. Mosier is now the school's Division-I career leader in stolen bases, having swiped 31 in her two-plus seasons at CSUN. She set a school Division-I record with 18 steals in 2010 and then tied another school record with three steals against Portland State on Feb. 13, 2011.

Triple Your Pleasure

The Matadors went the first 20 games of their 2011 season without a triple. Since then, Northridge has roped four in its past seven games. Jaci Carlsen started the surge with her first of the season, and third of her career, in CSUN's game one victory over North Dakota on Mar. 15. Jennifer Mosier then doubled the Matadors' total with one against Louisville and Mikayla Thielges added her first career triple against Wisconsin. Finally, Korinne Randazzo recorded her first career triple in the Matadors' victory over Ohio State. The Matadors now rank second in the conference with those four triples.