A tough week awaits the Matadors, who will play four games in the DeMarini Invitational this weekend at Cal State Fullerton and are looking to make up ground in the standings.
The Cal State Northridge softball team (5-8) will play No. 14 Stanford, Murray State, Northwestern, and Southern Miss.
The week will lie on the shoulders of freshman pitcher Carly Wade, who is second on the staff with 33.1 innings pitched, but has taken the majority of the losses, which has resulted in a 1-6 record.
“I came in midseason not knowing what to expect, especially being a freshman,” Wade said. “And just having so much asked upon me. The pressure has been great but we have been doing great as a staff.”
The experience will surely prepare Wade for the remainder of the season.
“I have played the role of being a pitcher and a teammate,” Wade said. “I have been asked to start games against some big teams (like) Hawaii, Cal and BYU and just hoping to set a tone for those games.”
Wade also leads the Matadors in games started with seven and ranks first atop of the conference in saves with one.
The load has been shared with recovering ace Hannah Fraijo, who leads the staff with 37 innings pitched and tossed a complete game against UNLV on Friday for her third win of the season.
“We have had some ups and downs this year,” Wade said. “Hannah (Fraijo), who has been injured and is now coming back, has been amazing.”
Meanwhile, sophomore catcher Mikayla Thielges, who leads the team with three home runs and is tied for third in the conference, sees this week as a crucial point in the season.
“Coming off the few loses that we had, I think we are going to be ready to go. We want the win,” Thielges said. “I think it will be pretty important, not only toward our record, but also toward the demeanor of the team.”
The upcoming Stanford game will be a big test for the Northridge.
“I am really excited to get another crack at Stanford, to see if we can get some more work done. I think it will be a good measuring stick,” freshman first baseman Madeline Sale said.
The Matadors lost to Stanford earlier in the season in a 9-0 blowout.
“We played them in Arizona. So, we have an idea on how their pitching staff is like and their staff as a whole,” Thielges said.
The versatile Wade, who has eaten innings this season, expects a competitive game against Stanford.
“I expect to come out stronger, I expect to score and I expect to play our hardest,” Wade said. “We play one pitch at a time. You run sixty feet, half to score, half to win, that’s how we win.”
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