The Cal State Northridge softball team (16-28, 4-8 Big West) returns home for a three-game Big West series against Cal Poly (7-31, 3-9 Big West) this weekend. The Matadors are led by Mikayla Thiegles, the Big West Conference leader in home runs with 11.
The Matadors have two series left at Matador Diamond with each game pivotal in the team’s effort to make the conference tournament.
“Everyday we have to compete in practice, play hard and rely on each other when face other opponents,” freshman pitcher Carly Wade said.
CSUN is coming off a loss against UC Santa Barbara, 4-2, in a three-game series that put Northridge in a tie for fifth (4-8) in the Big West standings while the Mustangs (3-9) are one game behind the Matadors for that spot.
Northridge started off slow against the Gauchos, not getting on the board until the fourth inning despite runs batted in from junior Jaci Carlsen and freshman Madeline Sale. Northridge beat UCSB 9-2 the night before in dominating fashion when they scored six runs in the top of the third.
Senior Kristin Mihm had a big day, scoring a home run in the top of the fifth and adding three more runs to the Matadors’ total. The home run was Mihm’s third of the season and new career-high mark. She finished the doubleheader on 4-of-5 with four RBIs, two runs scored and two sacrificed bunts.
Cal Poly’s win last weekend against Long Beach State was its first win in the last nine games heading to CSUN. The Mustangs beat the 49ers in eight innings, 5- 4, on the hands of sophomore right-hander Rebecca Patton, who pitched a complete game and hammered her first home run of the season during the sixth inning a two-run shot that proved to be the game deciding score.
Cal Poly is at the bottom of the division after a disappointing season. The team’s stats rank at the bottom of the Big West Conference in multiple categories.
CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers noticed the high level of the players’ emotions early in the season, but sees that they have done a better job at controlling these feelings.
“In the beginning of the season, things didn’t go our way often and they (the players) expressed their emotions too much, but the girls have done a better job at not letting things affect their play,” said Flowers.