The Cal State Northridge softball team (20-9) opens the Big West Conference season this weekend with a three-game series against the Pacific Tigers (15-14) at Matador Diamond. There will be a doubleheader on Saturday and another game Sunday afternoon.
The Matadors have been on a tear, going 17-3 over their last 20 games, and look like contenders for the Big West crown. The Tigers will be their first true test.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
One of the main reasons for the Matadors’ recent success is the play of their star pitcher Debbie Duran. CSUN has won eight consecutive games. During the streak, Duran got the win in the first seven and the save in the last game. For the season, she has a league-leading 14 wins and 10 complete games.
The Matadors have worked Duran for over 111 innings and will need their freshman pitcher Hannah Fraijo to step up in the Big West to take some of the load off the junior. Fraijo has a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 2.45 in 48.2 innings of work.
The Tiger bats will challenge the Matador pitchers. Pacific has a team batting average of .301. The Tigers are lead by sophomore Nicole Matson, who is batting .398 with 33 hits and 27 RBIs.
The Matador bats will also face a test in the Tigers’ pitching staff (3.73 ERA) . Pacific’s one-two punch consists of seniors Chelsea Engle, who is 6-7 with an ERA of 4.60, and Heidi Helberg, who is 5-4 with an ERA of 3.52.
CSUN will need reigning Big West Player of the Week Jaclyn Rymer to continue hitting the ball well. Last weekend, Rymer went a perfect 8-for-8 in two games against Cal State Bakersfield.