CSUN softball: Matadors face No. 1 Tigers this weekend

Gilberto Manzano

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Jennifer Mosier was asked on Tuesday by her PR representative what occurred 150 years ago. Mosier paused for a few seconds and said the United States civil war, answering correctly.

Now, the history major, Mosier, is applying the past as a positive during the Matadors’ losing slump. CSUN has dropped 10 of its last 12 games and has gotten off to a 2-4 start in Big West play.

“We started off like this last year in conference and came back and won the conference (championship),” left fielder Mosier said. “I have all the confidence that we are going to come back and do it again.”

Northridge (14-24, 2-4 Big West) will try to break out of the funk as it hosts conference rival Pacific for a three-game series starting with a double-header on Saturday and ending on Sunday afternoon.

Last season, the Matadors also possessed a 2-4 conference record, before facing the Tigers (25-13, 4-2 Big West). CSUN broke out in a huge way as it swept Pacific and went 13-2 to close the season, capturing a co-conference title with UC Davis.

It will be a difficult task for the Matadors to duplicate last season’s success over Pacific, which is tied for first place with UC Santa Barbara.

The Tigers lead the league in team batting average (.316), runs (200), hits (317), slugging percentage (.422) and on-base percentage (.402). Those numbers do not fare well for a CSUN team that ranks last in the Big West in team earned run average (6.04).

CSUN’s first-year head coach Tairia Flowers is not too concerned about the Matadors’ pitching struggles.

“I think the pitching is getting better and better every day,” Flowers said. “I know they’re frustrated and not happy with their performances, but they are doing a good enough job to keep us in the game.”

The Matadors’ pitching staff is led by junior Hannah Fraijo and freshman Carly Wade. Fraijo has a 9-9 record with a 5.33 ERA and 38 strikeouts. Wade holds a 4-13 record with a 5.41 ERA and 50 strikeouts.

The Tigers are young team with only four upperclassmen on their roster. Pacific’s top four hitters are either freshmen or sophomores.

Freshman sensation Kelsey Rodriguez leads the conference with a .400 batting average and teammate Megan Hom is not far behind with a .387 average. Power-hitting sophomore Nikki Armagost tops the league in RBIs with 32.

Behind Armagost in the RBI category is CSUN’s catcher Mikayla Thielges with 31. Thielges has been a force for the Matadors in the middle of the lineup as she leads the Big West in home runs with 10.

Junior Jaci Carlsen has also been having a good year at the plate for CSUN. Carlsen holds a team-high batting average of .361 with 39 hits.

Besides Carlsen and Thielges, the Matadors have not received much contributions from other hitters.

Leadoff hitter Mosier said once she gets on base more, the hitting struggles won’t be an issue.

“I didn’t start off as strong as I wanted to, but I’m starting to pick it up,” said Mosier, who has a .260 on-base percentage with 11 stolen bases. “I need to get on base for our power hitters (Carlsen and Thielges). I think we are about to hit our peak.”