Softball doubles record has a new name at number one
In 1994, Shannon Jones, then a senior, became the single-season doubles record holder in CSUN history with 17. Fast forward 25 years, and that record now belongs to junior Megan Stevens.
After two straight weekends in which she was largely ignored, having been walked 11 times (10 of them being intentional) in the two series against Cal Poly and UC Riverside, Stevens was finally able to break the record with a 2-RBI double in the fourth inning of the Matadors’ 10-2 win at UC Riverside on April 27, giving her 18 for the 2019 season.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Stevens. “I just wanted that chance to hit the ball and just hit a gap and get to second. Once I did, it was an overwhelming feeling.”
Her coaches felt her enthusiasm and excitement when she broke this 25-year-old record, commending her work ethic to reach the level necessary to have this opportunity.
“(Stevens’) work ethic is tremendous,” said head coach Tairia Flowers. “She’s got confidence and she’s a team player so it’s not just about her and it’s nice for her to get that payoff.”
“I think it’s awesome for her. She works hard day in and day out in practice, she’s been working on a lot of things and great to see the payoff for such a great player,” said undergraduate coach and former CSUN player Savannah Horvath. “She’s got great heart, great attitude all the time. So, for her to do that … it’s very spectacular for her.”
Her teammates also shared in the excitement, congratulating her.
“Megan is a pure stud,” said sophomore pitcher Jillian James. “She is completely power. She lives so much in the weight room and works hard every day. I’m so happy for her that her hard work is paying off.”
Once Stevens broke the record in the first game against the Highlanders, the doubles kept on flowing as she totaled three for the weekend, one in each game of the series, putting her at 20 overall with three games left to go in the regular season. Her parents were among the crowd in Santa Barbara when she hit all three doubles during the series, though the first of them, her record-breaking 18th, was the most special.
“I knew before so when I found out, I just looked at my parents and smiled and just knowing that everyone was on my side, it was cool,” said Stevens.
Her strategy for the season is emphasized in every at-bat she has: drive in runs with clutch hits.
“(My goal has been) just to hit the ball hard, do better than I did last year and I was really striving for a better batting average than I had last year,” said Stevens. “Honestly, I just want to hit for my team and get those runs scored.”
One thing she does extremely well at the plate is shift the momentum of a game. As the number three hitter in the lineup, Stevens is tasked with driving in runs and putting her mark on each game she plays in.
“Megan’s a hitter. She swings it well, she’s got good power and she hits for average,” said Flowers. “It’s been great having her in the lineup and create so much momentum for us.”
Last season, she had a .301 batting average with 31 runs scored, 51 hits, eight doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 48 RBIs, a .584 slugging percentage and a .371 on-base percentage. This season, as of May 4, she has a .440 batting average with 35 runs scored, 62 hits, 20 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 55 RBIs, a .887 slugging percentage and a .542 on-base percentage.
Since last season, Stevens has been making changes to push herself to get better and make results like this to help the team succeed.
“Getting as much extra hitting as I can,” Stevens said about how she prepared for this season. “I didn’t take advantage of it last year and I feel like this year I’ve taken every single opportunity to get the extra hitting in and make me feel more comfortable.”
Not only is she sitting at the top of the list for CSUN’s single-season doubles record, she has also moved into third for RBIs with 55, ahead of Beth Calcante from the 1993 season, who had 51.
Stevens was the Big West Athlete of the Week for March 4-10 and has been nominated multiple times since then, though she’s only won it just the one time despite her incredible stats. She is leading the conference in batting average and RBIs, and is second in home runs behind Hawaii’s Callee Keen, who has 14.
If things keep going her way, it wouldn’t be premature to call Stevens the Player of the Year for the Big West conference this season, as she has consistently been able to both produce in big moments throughout the year as well as strike fear in the heart of her opponents.