Matadors Travel to Face Mustangs in Pivotal Big West Series

April 29, 2010


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Battle For Conference Lead Pits Northridge against Cal Poly

The Cal State Northridge softball team (24-20, 8-4) takes its seven-game winning streak on the road to San Luis Obispo and the California Central coast to face Cal Poly in a three-game series. At 8-4, CSUN finds itself in second place in the Big West Conference, trailing Cal Poly (9-3) by one game in the standings. Coupled with the fact that there are just nine games remaining on the Matadors' schedule and both teams understand the importance and ramifications of a successful weekend.

Northridge has played some of its best softball of the year since the start of Big West play. Despite starting 1-4 against league opponents, the Matadors have roared back, winning seven straight and sweeping league series at Pacific and against UC Santa Barbara. In the three wins over the Gauchos, CSUN used timely hitting, exceptional defense and daunting pitching to help keep its NCAA Regional hopes alive.

Individually, Northridge boasts a line-up full of players who have made significant contributions throughout the season. As a team, Northridge has posted 67 mult-hit games and 30 multi-RBI games. The Matadors lead the league in slugging at .388 and in on-base percentage at .353. Defensively, the Matadors rank among the top teams in the nation, sporting a .970 fielding percentage that leads the Big West Conference.

The defending league champions, Cal Poly brings a 20-18 record into the weekend series. At 9-3, the Mustangs currently reside in first place in the Big West Conference. Over the last two weekends, the team has been led by freshman pitcher Rebecca Patton, who has posted a 7-0 record in the circle against Big West opponents. The Mustangs also boast Anna Cahn, a dual threat who leads the Big West Conference in ERA (1.91) and in on-base percentage (.550). Krysten Cary has also had a nice season at the plate, carrying a .328 average, five home runs and nine doubles into this weekend's games.

In a series that dates back to 1979, CSUN owns a 64-38-1 all-time record against Cal Poly, though the Mustangs have won the past five meetings. The two teams have a history of long winning streaks over the other. Since 2005, Cal Poly has wracked up a 13-2 record against the Matadors. From 1995-2004, Northridge was 24-5 against Cal Poly, including a 12-game winning streak that stretched from 1998-2001.

The other note of interest in regards to this series is that 75 percent of the Northridge coaching staff (Roni Sparrey, Sarah Iwata and Joni Colburn) played their collegiate softball for the Mustangs.

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 44 games in 2010, CSUN sports a .970 fielding percentage, which leads the conference, having committed only 40 errors in 1,348 chances. The fielding percentage ranks 28th in the nation. CSUN ranks 11th in Division I at 0.43 double plays per game, having turned 19 double plays in 2010.

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 a league-high 45 sac bunts through its first 44 games. Karla Chaparro leads the squad with seven sac bunts, the third-most in the Big West. Mikayla Thielges and Jaclyn Rymer are second on the team with six sac bunts to her credit while Amanda Pitzenberger, Krystal Raphael and Alexandria Alvarado all have four.

Basepaths Beware

In 2010, Northridge is 36-of-47 in stolen bases, the third-most steals in the league. Jennifer  Mosier leads the team with 15 stolen bases, the most by a CSUN player since 1990, and Jaci Carlsen has six steals. Tracy Allen is third with four swipes while Karla Chaparro and Lauren Olivas are fourth on the team having stolen three bags. Jaclyn Rymer ranks seventh in school history with 29 steals. 

I have the Power

Northridge has certainly had an offensive punch in 2010. The Matadors lead the Big West in on-base percentage (.353), slugging percentage (.388), runs scored (188), hits (305), RBIs (158) and total bases (445). The team's .265 batting average, 53 doubles, six triples and 25 home runs all rank second among league teams. CSUN's 25 home runs is more than double what the team hit (9) in 2009.

Learning Your Times Tables

The Matadors have had several players record multiple-hit and multiple-RBI games in 2010. Jennifer Mosier leads the team with 11 multi-hit games while Lauren Olivas and Tracy Allen are second with nine multi-hit games. Jaci Carlsen and Allen share the team lead with eight multi-RBI games. Allen had a career-high five RBIs at Pacific in game two of the series.

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 50 times through 44 games. Krystal Raphael and Jaci Carlsen have worn the biggest bulls-eye thus far, having each been hit nine times. Alexandria Alvarado has been hit seven times.

Allen Wrenches Her Way into Offensive Fixture

Junior Tracy Allen continues to prove herself offensively batting .444 with four hits, four RBIs and a stolen base last weekend in the series against UC Santa Barbara. She is now batting .389 in conference play with 15 RBIs, four home runs, a .476 on-base percentage and .722 slugging percentage. Allen earned Big West Player of the Week honors on Apr. 19 after batting .545 with two home runs and eight RBIs in CSUN's sweep at Pacific. In game two of the series, Allen belted a grand slam and finished with a career-high five RBIs.

For the year, Allen is batting .301 with six home runs, 32 RBIs, six doubles, 40 hits and 15 runs scored. She ranks 10th in the league with a .484 slugging percentage, first in RBIs, fifth in hits, fifth in home runs and fifth in total bases (60). Allen has also played exceptional defense for CSUN at third base, having started all 44 games at the hot corner and posting a league-high 116 assists and sterling .966 fielding percentage.

It Certainly Ain't Hannah Montana

Sophomore Hannah Fraijo is posting dominating pitching performances in the circle for the Matadors and owns a 10-1 record since Mar. 20. Fraijo leads Big West pitchers with 15 wins and has pitched the second-most innings (146.2) in the conference. She tossed two complete games last weekend against UC Santa Barbara, holding the Gauchos to a .160 batting average, only eight hits and four earned runs.

Additionally, Fraijo sports a team-best 3.01 ERA, 89 K's and .246 opposing batting average in 146.2 innings of work. She has totaled 11 complete games and two shutouts in 2010, including a 1-0 victory over then-No. 7 Oklahoma. Among league pitchers, Fraijo checks in at fourth in ERA, fourth in opposing batting average and second in innings pitched. She earned Big West Pitcher of the Week honors on Mar. 29 after defeating Utah twice.

Run Forrest Run

Junior Jennifer Mosier is keeping her bat alive in conference play, leading the Matadors with a .405 batting average, 15 hits, 10 runs, five doubles and .522 on-base percentage. She also leads the Big West Conference with a .377 overall batting average and .570 slugging percentage for the year. In the series sweep over UC Santa Barbara, Mosier posted a team-best .545 on-base percentage and four walks.

For the season, Mosier leads CSUN in hits (43), runs scored (30), total bases (65), walks (21), stolen bases(15), slugging percentage (.570) and on-base percentage (.478). She adds to that seven doubles, five home runs, 18 RBIs and a .970 fielding percentage in the outfield. Mosier has recorded 11 mult-hit games and has four multi-RBI games in 2010. Her 15 stolen bases are the most by an individual Matador since the 1990 season.

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

Senior Alexandria Alvarado blasted her second home run of the season over the left-center fence last Sunday against UC Santa Barbara. For the season Alvarado has smashed six doubles for the season and 34 for her career, the fourth-most in school history. In the third game against Pacific, Alvarado tied a school record with three doubles. Since the start of Big West play, Alvarado is batting .367, helping to raise her season average to .275. She also has scored 22 runs, collected 33 hits and driven in 16 RBIs in 2010.

Reno 911

Sophomore Jaci Carlsen has been a steady fixture in the clean-up spot for Northridge in 2010. Carlsen had a clutch hit during the final contest of the series against UC Santa Barbara, driving in the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. For the year, she is batting .284 with a team-high nine doubles and is second in league with 31 RBIs. She also ranks sixth in the conference in slugging percentage (.526) seventh in total bases (61), sixth in home runs (5), fifth in doubles (9), third in triples (2) and third in hit by pitches (8). At second base, Carlsen sports a .955 fielding percentage in 149 chances.

Rymer and Reason

Senior Jaclyn Rymer has batted .333 since the start of Big West play, raising her season average to .243. Rymer collected her third double of the season against UCSB and had a season-high three runs and three hits in the third game at Pacific. For the year, she has 25 hits, 17 runs scored and 10 RBIs. 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.

Getting the Lo-Down

Senior Lauren Olivas enters the week with a .270 batting average. She is third on the team and has set a new career high with 38 hits and is second on the team with a career-high 26 runs scored. For the season, she also has five doubles, a team-high three triples, seven RBIs, three stolen bases and 52 total bases. Olivas also hit her first career home run in 2010, sports a .984 fielding percentage and is sixth on the team with a .346 on-base percentage. The three triples ties her for 10th in school history for a single season.

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