The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Power not enough for CSUN

The good news for the CSUN softball team: they’ve been knocking the ball out of the park over the Spring Break.

In its first six Big West Conference games, all on the road, the Matadors have hit a total of eight home runs. In fact, this past weekend against the Cal State Fullerton Titans, three different Matadors circled the bases in two of those three games and the Matadors hit a total of seven home runs off Titan pitching.

The bad news: CSUN has emerged victorious in only one of its first six conference games to start. The Long Beach State 49ers took two of three from Northridge at the 49er Softball Complex on the weekend of March 31-April 1 and the Titans were just as uncooperative if not worse the following weekend, as it swept the Matadors at Anderson Family Field on April 6-7.

Things started out well for CSUN against Long Beach State on March 31. Junior pitcher Mercedes Lovato pitched a one-hit shutout and an RBI sacrifice by Jackie Duree in the third inning and a throwing error on 49er catcher Brooke LeSage in the fifth inning that allowed Sarah Kahn-Shamout to score from third gave Lovato the lead she preserved the entire afternoon, as CSUN took game one of the March 31st double header. Game 2 of the doubleheader was just as close, as freshman pitcher Amanda Pitzenberger pitched five no-hit innings. However, her counterpart in the circle, Kelly Cross, was just as dominant, as she allowed only one Matador hit, a single by senior third baseman Kelly Zakosek. Long Beach finally broke the scoreless drought in the sixth inning. The 49ers put two runners on base and Lacy Tyler singled to left with two outs to score Whitney Radcliff and give Long Beach a lead it never relinquished.

Northridge returned to Long Beach the next day for the rubber game against the 49ers, but that thought turned out to be April Fools, as the 49ers jumped on the Matadors early and held on for a 5-3 win to take the season series. Long Beach scored once in the first and added three in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. The Matadors cut into that lead in the fifth inning when after freshman outfielder Lauren Olivas walked with one out, sophomore catcher Amanda Peek homered to left field to cut the 49er lead in half. Long Beach though dashed any thought of a Matador comeback, as it got an insurance run in the bottom fifth to. CSUN did push a run across in the seventh, but Long Beach eventually hung on for the win. The Matadors left a total of 11 runners on base in the finale against the 49ers.

Northridge next traveled to Fullerton to face the Titans hoping for better results and once again, things started out well in game one of the April 6 doubleheader. Down 1-0, the Matadors broke out in the third inning. Junior right fielder Jackie Duree homered to left to tie the game. Northridge took the lead on an RBI single by freshman designated player Christian Saenz, then Peek sent one over the left field fence, giving CSUN a 4-1 lead. Northridge capped of its magnificent third inning when freshman first baseman Jaclyn Rymer singled and senior left fielder Megan Smith homered to center field to give CSUN a commanding 6-1 lead.

Fullerton though didn’t give in to the Matador onslaught, and they started to find their way back into the game. The Titans pushed a run across in the bottom third, then made its move in the fourth inning. Fullerton loaded the bases with one out and Candice Parker was hit by a pitch to force in a Titan run and knock senior starter Sam Schroeder out of the game. Lovato came as the reliever, but Titan pitcher Jessica Doucette capped off the Titans’ improbable rally with a grand slam home run to left field, giving Fullerton a 7-6 lead.

The Titans salted the game away in the sixth inning. Fullerton put two runners on and Lauren Lupinetti homered to left field, building Fullerton’s lead to 10-6. The Titans pushed one more run across later in the inning.

Northridge looked to bounce back in game two of the double header. Saenz homered to center field in the first inning to give CSUN a 1-0 lead, but the Titans came back an inning later, as Doucette singled to center to score Crystal Vieyra and tie he game, then in the fifth inning, Fullerton took the lead when a sacrifice flyball by Kiki Munoz scored Ashley Van Boxmeer to give Fullerton a 2-1 lead. Titan pitcher Baker held the lead the rest of the way, as she struck out seven on her way to the complete game win.

Northridge looked to salvage a win against the Titans the next day. Fullerton scored the game’s first run in the first inning, but the lead only lasted an inning, as Smith sent one to center field for a solo home run to tie the game. The Titans re-took the lead with two in the fourth, but Northridge came back with three in the fifth. Zakosek cut into the lead with a home run to left, Duree then singled to left and two batters later, Peek smashed one over the left field wall to give CSUN a 4-3 lead.

The lead though didn’t last for long, as Fullerton tied the game in its half of the fifth, then took the lead with two runs in the sixth inning and Titan reliever Brooke Weekley shut the door on Fullerton’s 6-4 win and the season sweep of the Matadors.

Northridge will attempt to pick up the pieces this coming weekend when it returns home to host the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustangs. Northridge and Cal Poly will play a doubleheader on Saturday April 14 starting at noon, followed by the rubber match on Sunday April 15, also at noon.

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