April 20, 2011

Northridge Hits the Road for Three-Game Series at UC Santa Barbara

April 20, 2011

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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Matadors Renew Historical Rivalry with Gauchos

The Cal State Northridge softball team (15-26, 3-6 Big West) packs its bags for a trip along the California coast for a three-game Big West Conference series at UC Santa Barbara. The schedule is pushed up a day for the Matadors and Gauchos in observance of Easter, so they'll play two games on Friday, April 22 and a single game on Saturday, April 23.

CSUN enters Friday's contest off a 1-2 performance against Pacific at Matador Diamond. In a doubleheader on April 16, the Matadors nearly rallied from a 9-2 deficit with five runs in the seventh and then carried that momentum over into a 5-3 victory in game two. Sunday saw Pacific prevail, but Mikayla Thielges blasted her league-leading 11th home run of the season in defeat.

A look at the numbers shows CSUN has improved dramatically since the start of league play. Five regulars own an individual on-base percentage of over .400 and the team's ERA through the first nine games is 3.56. Sophomore Mia Pagano played a large role in lowering that figure, tossing her first career complete game in the Matadors' victory over the Tigers.

Other individuals ratcheting up their game since the start of league play are seniors Jennifer Mosier and Kristen Mihm. Mosier is batting .355 thus far and went 4-for-4 with three RBIs in the Matadors win over Pacific. Mihm is batting .273 in league play, 106 points higher than her average for the year, and she had two doubles in the Matadors' victory over Pacific.

This week, CSUN faces a red-hot UC Santa Barbara team that has won 10 of its last 11 games and is second in the Big West Conference with a 6-3 record. At the plate, Keilani Jennings is batting .317 with 15 doubles, six home runs and 31 RBIs. McKenzie Kane leads the team with a .354 batting average and she and Brooke Putich both have 11 stolen bases.

In the circle, Adriana Collins and Krista Cobb have seen the majority of work for UCSB. Collins is 12-10 with a 3.64 ERA and a .294 opponent batting average. Cobb is 10-9 with a 3.97 ERA and a .253 opponent batting average and threw a no-hitter last weekend against UC Riverside as UC Santa Barbara won two out of three from the Highlanders.

The Matadors and Gauchos have a long history on the softball diamond. The two teams have played a total of 85 times since 1979 and CSUN owns a career mark of 57-27-1 in the all-time series. In fact, Northridge has won the past four meetings with UC Santa Barbara.

Run Forrest Run

Senior Jennifer Mosier has enjoyed a surge in production at the plate since the start of Big West play. She is batting .355 with a team-high 11 hits, three doubles and seven RBIs in the nine games. Mosier is also tied in leading both the Matadors and Big West Conference with 11 stolen bases on the season, giving her 32 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 86 percent (32-of-37) 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 tied a career high with four hits and set a new season high with three RBIs in the Matadors' over Pacific and has scored 16 runs, two triples and 13 RBIs on the year.

Mihm's the Word

Senior Kristen Mihm has steadily increased her productivity since the start of league play. She is batting .273 in the nine games and has three doubles, four runs scored and a .407 on-base percentage. For the year, Mihm has two home runs, six home runs and eight RBIs. In addition to her prowess at the plate, Mihm patrols center field for Northridge where she has a .981 fielding percentage and six defensive assists. She hit her first career grand slams in CSUN's win over Western Michigan.

Thielges Do Us Part

Sophomore Mikayla Thielges hit her league-leading 11th home run of the season Sunday in the Matadors' loss to Pacific, moving her into a tie with two other Northridge players for sixth in school history. The team's everyday catcher, Thielges ranks among the league's top 10 in eight different categories: home runs (1st), slugging percentage (2nd, .699), on-base percentage (4th, .460), RBIs (2nd, 34), total bases (4th, 65), walks (3rd, 22), hit by pitch (5th, 8), and sac flies (1st, 3). Since the start of Big West play, Thielges is batting .409 with seven walks and a team-high .581 on-base percentage. That performance has raised her season average to .301, a new career high. She has a three-hit game (Nevada) and has driven in a career-high four RBIs on two separate occasions (San Jose State, North Dakota). For the season, Thielges owns a .957 fielding percentage in 140 chances.

Mama Mia!

Sophomore Mia Pagano tossed the first complete game of her career in helping lead the Matadors to a 5-3 victory over Pacific on April 16. She allowed only two hits and one unearned run in the victory, the second win of her career. In four appearances against Big West foes, she is 1-1 with a .232 opponent batting average in 16.2 innings of work. For the season, she is 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA and nine strikeouts in 24.1 innings in the circle.

Reno 911

Junior Jaci Carlsen moved into ninth in school history with 17 career home runs when she blasted her seventh of the season in the Matadors' 3-2 victory over Long Beach State on Apr. 9. For the season, Carlsen leads CSUN with a .339 batting average, eight doubles, 71 total bases and 40 hits. In fact, she ranks among the league's top 10 in seven different categories: total bases (2nd), batting average (10th), slugging percentage (4th, .601), hits (6th), doubles (3rd), home runs (4th) and stolen bases (1st, 11). The 11 steals represent a new career high, she has 19 RBIs and also owns a .392 on-base percentage. She owns a .957 fielding percentage in 207 chances. Carlsen was named Big West Player of the Week on Mar. 28.

Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture

Senior Tracy Allen is second on the team and ninth in the Big West Conference with 23 RBIs. That figure raises her career RBI total to 81, tying her with Jan Mosier for 10th in school history. Allen also has five home runs on the season, third on the team and seventh in the Big West Conference, to raise her career total to 16 and which is tied for ninth in school history. A mainstay at third base for the Matadors over the last three seasons, Allen is batting .282 for the season with 17 runs, six doubles and a .462 slugging percentage. She is also second in the conference with 110 defensive assists and owns a .959 fielding percentage in 145 chances.

Time for Madeline

Freshman Madeline Sale is third on the team with a .296 batting average through the first 41 games of her collegiate career. A rookie from Yorba Linda, Calif., Sale has 32 hits, five doubles and 12 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 .369 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 200 chances.

Carly's Wade With Words

Freshman Carly Wade has been a reliable force for the Matadors in her rookie season, especially since the start of Big West play. In six appearances during the Big West season, she owns a 3.56 ERA and a .282 opponent batting average. She picked up her third win of the season by tossing a complete game against Long Beach State on Apr. 9 and is now 4-14 on the season. Wade is also third in the league with her two saves.

Basepaths Beware

Under head coach Tairia Flowers, CSUN has been aggressively attacking the basepaths. The Matadors are third in the Big West Conference with 33 stolen bases. Jennifer Mosier and Jaci Carlsen are tied for the lead league with 11 steals. Korinne Randazzo and Kristen Mihm each add three steals while Tracy Allen has two. Mosier is now the school's Division-I career leader in stolen bases, having swiped 32 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 teams, Flowers will 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 a rookie assistant coach is former UCLA teammate and current San Diego State assistant head coach Stacey Nuveman.

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