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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CSUN drops series to Highlanders after intense final game

Lauryn Carranco, 15, stares down the batter as she releases a pitch on the softball diamond on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at the Matador Diamond in Northridge, Calif.

After splitting the first two games of the series against UC Riverside (14-24, 8-10 Big West) on Friday, the Matadors lost a closely contested ball game on Saturday to close out the series. CSUN (19-22, 3-15 Big West) lost the first game 7-5 and won the second 1-0, but it took extra innings for the Highlanders to win the final contest 3-2.

The first game was a back-and-forth battle through the first four innings. Shaylan Whatman, Jadyn Nielsen, Alexis Chavez and Kennedy Gustin scored for the Matadors, but both teams would go scoreless through the final three to end the game. Conversely, game two was quiet, with a home run by right fielder Kaylee Escutia being the only run of the game.

CSUN started the final game scorching hot with a booming lead-off triple by Whatman into left field, followed immediately by a single up the middle by center fielder Lulu Sanchez to give CSUN the lead, 1-0. The dugout was erupting with noise and the momentum was firmly in the Matadors’ hands for the first few innings.

Throughout the entire ball game, pitchers Lauryn Carranco and Maddie Heinlin were battling back and forth, with CSUN’s Carranco gaining the advantage allowing just two hits to Heinlin’s four in the first four innings.

Unfortunately, that’s when the momentum started shifting in favor of the Highlanders. While no runs were scored by UC Riverside in the fifth inning, a tough sequence that included two walks and a hit discouraged Carranco for the remainder of the contest. From that point forward, Heinlin took over the show, leaving the Matadors hitless as she went the distance.

The top of the final inning was where UC Riverside would finally break through the Matadors’ solid defense and score a game-tying run. Following a single by Bella Scozzola and sac bunt by Rebeca Cabezas, outfielder Trendee Kahunahana sent a rocket into right center field to bring pinch runner Alyssa Jade Alano home.

After allowing a single at the top of the eighth inning, Carranco’s day would end in the circle and head coach Charlotte Morgan would put in Isabella Alonso. This did not lead to any success for the Matadors as Alonso gave up two runs in the next two at-bats leaving the Matadors trailing the Highlanders.

CSUN valiantly fought back and quickly scored as Whatman tagged up and came home off a fly out by Kylie Galindo, but it wouldn’t be enough for the Matadors. Heinlin would end the game with a strikeout on Sydney Freijanes, closing the series out with only six hits given up on the day.

Though disappointed in the loss, Morgan was content that her team put up a real fight at the end of extra innings and refused to give up. But she said the Matadors also have some things to work on moving forward.

“This doesn’t sit well,” Morgan said. “It’s unacceptable, but we have to clean up a lot of things, and again, at the end of the day, it was another close game.”

The series loss puts CSUN in a tough spot in the Big West, with them now sitting on a .167 win percentage in the conference. The Matadors might get a break with their next series matchup being at Cal State Bakersfield (4-36, 2-16 Big West), who hold the last spot in the conference.

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