The CSUN Matador softball team started a little rusty in the beginning of its four-game home stand at Matador Diamond, but ended up finishing on a good note as it got ready for a big weekend in Orange County.
The Matadors lost the first of a doubleheader to the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 5-3 on March 12, but came back to win the second game 2-0, then swept the Canisius Golden Griffins the very next day, winning the first game 11-3 and the second game 6-2.
In game one against Tennessee-Martin, the Skyhawks struck gold first in the top of the third inning when Fallon Lowery hit a two-run home run to right field. The Matadors got a run back in the third when freshman right fielder Alexandria Alvarado doubled to left field to score senior third baseman Kelly Zakosek. Northridge tied the game an inning later when sophomore shortstop Micah Putnam singled to right to score sophomore designated player Amanda Peek.
Tennessee-Martin however broke the game wide open in the fifth. The Skyhawks put two runners on base, then Stacey Weaver singled to left field to score Lauren Manna and Brittany Nash. Weaver later scored on a sacrifice flyball by Kara Harper.
Game two was scoreless for the first four-and-half innings, but the Matadors broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Senior left fielder Megan Smith singled to lead off the inning, took second on a sacrifice fly by freshman first baseman Jaclyn Rymer and the next batter, Putnam, singled up the middle to center field to score Smith. Putman later attempted to steal third base and the catcher, Manna, tried to throw her out, only to have her throw get away from third baseman Brittany Burkett and Putnam came home to score the insurance run.
Freshman pitcher Amanda Pitzenberger was solid inside the circle for the Matadors, pitching the complete-game shutout while striking out seven batters and allowing only two hits.
The next day, the Matadors took the field against Canisius looking for more than a split. The Golden Griffins though, just like the Skyhawks the day before, got on the board first on a home run, only this one was a leadoff blast by shortstop Katie Miranto to right field in the top of the first inning. The Golden Griffins added another run later in the inning to put themselves up 2-0.
The Matadors again fought back. Rymer led off the bottom of the second inning with a home run to left field, Putnam then tripled to right field and two batters later, freshman Lauren Olivas drew a bases-loaded walk to get Putnam home to tie the game.
CSUN broke the game open with six runs in the bottom of the third inning. Canisius got a run back in the top of the fifth when Jenny Maheu homered to right field. CSUN got two more runs in the bottom half of the fifth and invoked the eight-run mercy rule an inning later when Rymer singled to right field to score Alvarado.
Game two was more competitive, though the Matadors still came out with the win. Again, the Golden Griffins scored first when Miranto, after drawing a leadoff walk and advancing to second on a sacrifice flyball, took advantage of a throwing miscue to score the game’s first run.
The Matadors got that run back in the bottom third on a home run by freshman catcher Miranda Ponce. Northridge then broke the game wide open with a five-run sixth inning. Junior pitcher Mercedes Lovato went all the way for the win, striking out six batters. The second win over Canisius also marked a milestone for the Matadors, as it was the 1,100th victory for the softball program.
The Matadors now head to Cal State Fullerton for the Judi Garman Classic at Cal State Fullerton starting today. The Matadors will start off against 25th ranked Florida State tonight at 6:15 p.m., then will play tow the next day, starting with a morning game against ninth-ranked Michigan at 11:15 a.m., followed by an afternoon tilt with 11th-ranked Washington at 1:30 p.m.