CSUN softball wins on a walk-off home run

    csun softball team celebrates after home run
    The Matadors welcome junior short stop Savannah Horvath, #9, at the plate after she hit a home run on Monday, March 20, 2017. Photo credit: Anthony Martinez

    CSUN Matadors took on the University of Hawaii in their Big West home opener Friday afternoon.

    It was an amazing day for Northridge, winning 6-5 in walk-off fashion.

    It was tough start for the University of Hawaii as they were retired one, two, three and allowed two runs on three errors in the first inning.

    In the bottom half of the first, the Matadors lead-off hitter Taylor Nate reached home on an error by Hawaii third baseman Nicole Lopez.

    On the next at bat Taylor Glover came home on an error, this time to Hawaii starting pitcher Brittany Hitchcock.

    Third baseman Jesse Alexander would come up next and knock a RBI single to left field. The only other run Northridge scored in the inning was on the third error by Hawaii off the bat of shortstop Savannah Horvath, scoring Taylor Glover.

    The Matadors finished the first inning 2-0 off two unearned runs and left two on base.

    It was a different story in the second inning as the Rainbow Warriors went on to score three runs off two home runs from freshman Callee Heen and senior Chardonnay Pantastico. This caused starter Taylor Troost to be pulled from the game after allowing three runs in an inning on four hits.

    Senior Rebecca Bell took over for the Matadors and got out of the inning with a 3-2 deficit.

    It was quite until the top of the fifth when a single and a sacrifice bunt from Hawaii put a runner on second base with one out when three hitter Nicole Lopez stepped in the box.

    Lopez went go on to launch a two run home run to left field, giving the Rainbow Warriors a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth.

    In the bottom half of the fifth inning, the momentum turned as Nate swatted a solo home run to center field for the Matadors, cutting the lead to 5-3.

    Still 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, senior Madison Fleming knocked a lead-off double to left field.

    Junior Savannah Horvath was next and went go on to hit a clutch two run home run to tie the game at five with one inning left to play.

    “Her home run and Taylor Nate’s as well flipped the switch for us,” said first baseman Katie Hooper. “We tried coming out strong, but those two hits really turned the page for us offensively.”

    Another scoreless half inning for Hawaii brought the Matadors up in the bottom half of the seventh inning looking to finish their comeback.

    Hooper was the first and last batter of the inning for the Matadors as she hit a walk off home run to left field, giving Northridge a 6-5 victory.

    “I knew we needed a runner to get on and then we’d go from there,” Hooper said. “It just so happened that I was the one that was able to finish it for us, so that was awesome.”

    Hooper hit the walk off for the win, however, Bell was the one who was able to keep the game within reach for the Matadors and get the win. Bell came in relief for starter Troost, pitching five and two thirds innings allowing two runs on just three hits.

    “It’s always amazing to have someone like that,” said head coach Taria Flowers. “It gives the pitchers a little bit more confidence knowing someone can come off the bench and help out if need be.”

    Pitcher Rebecca Bell was modest after her performance saying she owes some of her success to Troost.

    “I know my role on the team and I follow Taylor Troost because we complement each other so well in terms of speed and spin,” Bell said. “They were on her rise ball so I came in with my drop.”

    The Matadors are now 22-13 on the season and 2-2 in Big West play.