By Michael Davis
The Cal State Northridge softball team (20-29, 7-9 Big West) faced off against the UC Riverside Highlanders and took both games of a doubleheader Saturday, in what proved to be high-scoring affairs,to sweep the day and earn two Big West victories at Matador Diamond.
After taking the first game, 10-5, the Matadors came out looking for their second win of the day to lock up the series victory over Riverside (11-30, 4-12 Big West).
CSUN’s Carly Wade started the second game and was really locked in.
Only giving up one run, Wade went out and pitched six out of the seven innings. Northridge’s run production really helped her, as CSUN showed up at the plate.
Held scoreless through two, it all seemed to come together in the third inning for Northridge after an infield single and steals at second and third base. Catcher Mikayla Thielges hit a single to center field to get CSUN’s first run.
After another base hit, Madeline Sale came up to bat with two runners in scoring position. Sale sent the ball to the right-center field gap for a two-RBI stand-up double. The Matadors managed to score one more run in the bottom of the third to enter the fourth inning with a lead at 4-1.
After scoring one more run in the bottom of the fourth, the Matadors had another opportunity in the fifth to widen the gap.
With two outs in the inning, Kristen Mihm came up to bat with a runner in scoring position. Mihm was battling at the plate, fouling several balls out of play.
Finally, Mihm sent a liner out to center field to score the Matadors’ sixth run of the game. Before all was said and done, Cal State Northridge would score one more run to defeat UCR, 7-1.
CSUN was clicking on offense, scoring 17 runs total on Saturday.
“We played really great today. We were all very focused and it showed out on the field. It was a good day,” second baseman Jaci Carlsen said.
Carlsen credited the offensive surge to slight differences in the approach.
We changed some stuff up and it worked out really well for us. We worked hard at it and it showed out on the ball field,” she said.
The hitting was great for CSUN, but the pitching was just as good.
Wade only gave up one run in the six innings. Reliever Mia Pagano entered in the top of the seventh to close out the game for Northridge. Pagano set three players down in a row, striking out one of them.
The Highlanders’ bats did not show up Saturday and they could not match up with the Matadors’ hitters.
“I feel really good about how we played today. We played very good softball and we are hoping to keep it up on Sunday,” CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers said. “The girls were very aggressive at the plate, but were only swinging at good pitches. The girls are in a good place right now and it is why we are playing so well.”