April 6, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Matadors Battle 49ers in Pivotal League Series
The Cal State Northridge softball team (13-22) hits the road for a crucial three-game series at Long Beach State April 9 and 10. The Matadors and the 49ers will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon and then a single game on Sunday at 49er Softball Complex. Both teams enter the weekend at 1-2 in the Big West Conference and will be looking to improve their standing towards a league title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Having lost eight of its last nine games, CSUN hopes the Pacific Ocean breezes help wake up its offense. The Matadors generated just five hits and one run, courtesy of a solo home run, in being swept in a home doubleheader by San Diego State on April 5. Carly Wade nearly made a 1-0 score stand up in game one, only to give up a grand slam with two outs in the top of the seventh. Game two saw a stunned Northridge squad muster just one hit in a 13-0, five-inning loss to the Aztecs.
Before the troubles with SDSU, Northridge went 1-2 in its opening league series at UC Davis. The Matadors stormed out to a 7-3 victory in the first game of the series behind six doubles and three stolen bases. However, the bats went silent in the next two games and the Matadors totaled four runs and eight hits in the two losses (3-1, 5-3).
Individually, CSUN continues to be led by the quartet of Jaci Carlsen, Madeline Sale, Tracy Allen and Mikayla Thielges. The foursome has combined to account for 59 percent (111/188) of CSUN's hits, 72 percent (79/110) of the team's RBIs and 43 percent of the team's runs. Thielges now has 10 home runs on the season while Allen and Carlsen are tied for ninth in school history with 16 career round trippers.
In the circle, Wade has improved throughout the course of the season despite her win-loss record. She leads the team with a .285 batting-average-against and 45 strikeouts. Hannah Fraijo is now 9-7 on the season with a 5.27 ERA in 102.1 innings of work.
Long Beach State has dominated the recent results in the series between the two schools, having won 21 of the last 24 meetings with Northridge. The last time the Matadors won a three-game set with the 49ers came in 2002 when CSUN swept the Beach at Matador Diamond in a Big West series. The last time CSUN won a road series with LBSU came in 2001 as Northridge took two of three games with the 49ers.
The 49ers boast the league's best pitching staff, led by freshman Erin Jones-Wesley. The rookie is 12-4 on the season with a 1.33 ERA, 102 K's and .197 opponent batting average in 110.2 innings of work. She has won the Big West Pitcher of the Week honors on four separate occasions and has thrown several no-hitters. Joining her is a senior, Brooke Turner, and a junior, Taylor Petty, who have combined to go 11-8 with a .201 opponent batting average.
Offensively, Nalani St. Germain paces the 49ers with a .352 batting average, six home runs and 19 RBIs. Megan Denio leads the Big West Conference with 22 walks and owns a .434 on-base percentage with seven steals. As a team, LBSU is hitting .267 and has out-scored its opponents 128-86.
Junior Jaci Carlsen continues to lead the Matadors in batting average, checking in at .371 for the season. Having started every game at second base for the Matadors, Carlsen also ranks among the league leaders in multiple offensive categories: slugging percentage (.660, fourth), on-base percentage (.446, 10th), hits (36, fourth), doubles (8, second), home runs (6, third), total bases (64, first) and stolen bases (8, second). Carlsen's home run against San Diego State on April 5 was the 16th of her career, tying her with teammate Tracy Allen and two other former Matadors for the ninth-most 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 .951 fielding percentage in 164 chances. Carlsen was named Big West Player of the Week on Mar. 28.
Thielges Do Us Part
Sophomore Mikayla Thielges is among the Big West Conference leaders with 10 home runs, a .688 slugging percentage and 31 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 .260 with a .429 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 .962 fielding percentage in 104 chances.
Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture
Senior Tracy Allen cranked her fifth home run of the season and 16th of her career in the Matadors' victory over UC Davis on April 2. The 16 career deep flies ties her with teammate Jaci Carlsen and two other Matadors for ninth in school history. She now has 79 career RBIs, two shy of tying Jan Mosier for 10th in school history. Allen has started all 30 games for Northridge at third base and owns a .961 fielding percentage.
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 89 percent (31-of-35) 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 12 runs scored, two triples and eight RBIs on the year.
Time for Madeline
Freshman Madeline Sale is second on the team with a .311 batting average through the first 35 games of her collegiate career. A rookie from Yorba Linda, Calif., Sale has 28 hits, four doubles and 11 RBIs on the season. She has produced two three-hit performances (Nevada, Southern Miss) while drawing 13 walks to raise her on-base percentage to .394 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 .981 fielding percentage in 155 chances.
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 3-13 with a 5.75 ERA, 45 strikeouts and a team-best .285 batting-average-against. Wade is also tied for the league lead with her two saves.
Under head coach Tairia Flowers, CSUN has been aggressively attacking the basepaths. The Matadors are second in the Big West Conference with 28 stolen bases and Jennifer Mosier leads the league with 10 steals and Jaci Carlsen is tied for second with a career-high eight. 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.
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.