The CSUN women’s softball team opened its 2008 season in a three-day tournament Feb. 8 – 10 at the Cathedral City Kickoff at Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City. The Matadors struggled in the tournament, only winning one out of the five games they played.
In their first game on Friday, the Matadors were defeated by the Winthrop Eagles 8-4. Down 6-0 after two innings, the Matadors made a comeback when senior outfielder Jackie Duree singled to load the bases in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman catcher Krystal Raphael pinch-hit for sophomore pitcher and infielder Amanda Pitzenberger and singled to center field, driving in two runs. Duree then scored on a wild pitch and Raphael later scored on an error by the Eagles’shortstop, driving in two more runs for the Matadors. Four runs were not enough for the Matadors to take the lead, however, as Winthrop came back to score two more runs in the sixth to take the lead and win the game. Senior Samantha Schroeder pitched five innings, giving up six hits and five earned runs while striking out one and walking three.
In the econd game of the day, the Matadors faced the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Matadors took the lead early, scoring one in the first inning as junior catcher Amanda Peek slammed a single to the right side to score freshmen infielder Tracy Allen. Peek came back again after three innings, hitting a triple to right field as Raphael hit a line drive to right center that flew over the Bulldogs’ right fielder, bringing Peek in to score a run. This wasn’t enough to give the Matadors the win, though, and Mississippi State won the game 4-2. Senior pitcher Mercedes Lovato played the entire game, giving up seven hits over the six innings, while striking out five players.
On Saturday morning, the Matadors first played No. 2 Texas A’M and were defeated by the Aggies 3-0. Lovato went for six innings while striking out two and giving up six hits. The Aggies put the game away with solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings. The Aggies’ pitcher Megan Gibson pitched a complete game shutout, striking out four Matadors.
On Saturday afternoon, the Matadors faced Utah State. The Matadors took the lead early, scoring one run in the first inning on a single to right field by Peek The Matadors continued to score in the second inning with a pair of runs. To start the inning, sophomore outfielder Alexandria Alvarado first doubled to right center, stole third, and scored on a throwing error by the Utah State catcher. Allen then followed with her first career home run down the left field line, making the score 3-0.
Utah State made a comeback in the bottom of the second inning with a pair of runs, making the score 3-2. In the sixth inning, Alvarado doubled into the left center gap, scoring in junior infielder Sarah Kahn-Shamout. Sophomore outfielder Christina Saenz then brought Alvarado in with a pinch-hit RBI single to left field, giving the Matadors the 5-2 win. Alvarado went 3-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, and two stolen bases. Lovato tied a career high with eight strikeouts.
On Sunday morning, the Matadors played No. 20 Oregon. Scoring an unearned run in the first inning, Oregon took the lead. The Matadors let a chance to take the lead get away when they left two runners on-base in the first, third, and fifth innings. CSUN got four hits in the game, but left 10 runners on base. Oregon defeated the Matadors 2-0.
Allen went 2-for-4, raising her season average to .235. Lovato made her fifth appearance of the tournament, playing the entire game while striking out a career-high nine batters. Peek had one hit and was walked twice, hitting .417 through the five games.
Peek said this past weekend’s tournament was upsetting, but the Matadors will make a comeback in this weekend’s tournament.
“We’ll come out this weekend and do better,” Peek said.
The Matadors head out to Las Vegas this weekend to play in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Louisville Slugger Desert Classic tournament. They will face No. 5 Oklahoma, Seton Hall, South Carolina, UNLV, and San Jose State.