Northridge Opens Big West Season with Series at UC Davis

April 1, 2011

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Face Aggies in Rematch of 2010 League Co-Champs

The Cal State Northridge softball team (12-18) opens its 2011 Big West Conference season with a three-game series at UC Davis on April 2 (doubleheader) and April 3. Although the Matadors have lost four-straight games, they know that the start of the league season means every team is 0-0 as they being their path toward the conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Last weekend was a tough one for CSUN, as it dropped three run-rule decisions to No. 9 Arizona in Tucson. On the bright side, the team improved over the course of the series against the eight-time national champions, culminating with a five-run, seven-hit performance in the third game of the series. Jaci Carlsen and Madeline Sale each had two hits and Jennifer Mosier scored two runs and had two RBIs.

Fortunately, that's all history and the start of the league season offers renewed optimism for a Northridge club determined to defend its share of the league title from a season ago. On paper, the Matadors still rank among the league leaders in several offensive categories as a team, including a Big West-high 24 home runs.

The Matadors open their 2011 Big West season against the team that they split the league title with a year ago, UC Davis. The Aggies are 14-12 on the season and led by senior Alex Holmes. A dual threat for UCD, Holmes was the Big West Pitcher of the Year in 2010 and leads the ball club with a .402 batting average and 12 extra-base hits. In the circle, Holmes is 9-9, but owns a 2.28 ERA and a .240 opponent batting average with 104 strikeouts. Jessica Gonzales and Elisabeth Santana are also batting over .300 for the season with Santana owning a club-best 13 RBIs. Joining Holmes in the circle is Jessica Thweatt, who has allowed just 25 earned runs in 48.2 innings of work to post a 3.60 ERA.

Reno 911

Junior Jaci Carlsen continues to lead the Matadors in batting average, checking in at .386 for the season, the sixth-best figure in the Big West Conference. Having started every game at second base for the Matadors, Carlsen also ranks among the league leaders in multiple offensive categories: slugging percentage (.675, third), on-base percentage (.446, ninth), runs scored (15, 10th), hits (32, fourth), doubles (7, second), home runs (5, fifth), total bases (56, first) and stolen bases (7, third). 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. She owns a .949 fielding percentage in 138 chances. Carlsen was named Big West Player of the Week on Mar. 28.

Thielges Do Us Part

Sophomore Mikayla Thielges leads the Big West Conference with nine home runs, a .727 slugging percentage and 30 RBIs on the season. 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 .277 with a .427 on-base percentage. 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 .967 fielding percentage in 92 chances.

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 seventh in the Big West Conference with 17 RBIs. She now has 75 career RBIs, six shy of tying Jan Mosier for 10th in school history. Allen has started all 30 games for Northridge at third base and owns a .964 fielding percentage, including a league-high 81 defensive assists.

Run Forrest Run

Senior Jennifer Mosier leads the Matadors and Big West Conference with 10 stolen bases on the season and giving 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 11 runs scored, a home run and six RBIs on the year.

It Certainly Ain't Hannah Montana

Junior Hannah Fraijo currently stands at 8-5 on the year, giving her a career record of 33-17 in two-plus seasons at Northridge. The eight wins are the third-most by a pitcher in the Big West and she also owns a team-best 5.23 ERA. She has tossed six complete games on the year and has 29 K's and a .327 batting-average-against in a team-high 91 innings (fifth-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 .304 batting average through the first 30 games of her collegiate career. A rookie from Yorba Linda, Calif., Sale has 24 hits, three doubles and nine 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 .364 for the season. After starting the year as the team's Designated Player, Sale has now played the majority of games at first base for CSUN and owns a .980 fielding percentage in 148 chances. She ranks sixth in the Big West Conference in chances and put-outs (134).

Sloniker's Story

Junior Samantha Sloniker leads the Matadors and is second Big West Conference with 20 runs scored on the season, her first at Northridge. She adds to that 20 hits, a double, two home runs, eight RBIs and 11 walks on the season. She homered against Boise State and Murray State and is second on 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 47 chances, including five assists, on the year.

Carly's Wade With Words

Freshman Carly Wade has been a reliable force for the Matadors in her rookie season. 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, Wade 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 3-11 with a 6.22 ERA, 40 strikeouts and a team-best .299 batting-average-against. Wade is also tied for the league lead with her two saves.

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 (.380), RBIs (99) and stolen bases (25). CSUN ranks third in runs scored (108), total bases (269) and triples (4). 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 (.386; sixth), slugging percentage (.675; third) and home runs (5; fifth). Carlsen also leads the league in total bases with 56 while Thielges is third 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 third 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 10 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 third in the conference with those four triples.

Flowers Named Team USA Assistant Coach

Cal State Northridge softball head coach Tairia Flowers was named an assistant coach for the 2011 USA Softball season on Mar. 3. A member of the 2004 and 2008 US Olympic team, Flowers will work be a part of Team USA head coach Ken Eriksen's staff at the World Cup of Softball July 21-25 in Oklahoma City. In addition to that experience, Flowers will work at the team's selection camp in Chula Vista, Calif., from June 13-17. She will then be part of tour stops in Salem, Virginia (June 29) and Bowie, Maryland (July 1). Flowers is one of two newcomers to the Team USA Coaching Staff for 2011. Joining her as rookie assistant coach is former UCLA teammate and current San Diego State assistant head coach Stacey Nuveman. The Matadors and Aztecs will play a doubleheader at Matador Diamond on April 5 starting at 1 p.m.