The Cal State Northridge softball team had a successful four-game home stand, as they swept doubleheaders against the Southern Utah Eagles on Feb. 23 and the Nevada Wolfpack on Feb. 24.
“One of the best qualities about the team is that they’re playing together,” said head coach Barbara Jordan. “Having that quality in a team as a coach is a nice feeling.”
In the first game against Southern Utah, freshman shortstop Amanda Peek put CSUN on the board when she led off with a home run to left-center field. Freshman Micah Putnam walked and seniors Jan Moshier and Janine Grund drew walks to load the bases. Heather Martin hit a single to left that scored Putman and Moshier, giving CSUN a 3-0 lead.
Southern Utah tried to rally in the top second when they loaded the bases and Bobbie Jo Merrill was hit by a pitch to force in a run, but freshman starting pitcher Selena Salazar struck out the next two batters. Sophomore left fielder Jackie Duree made a diving catch in foul territory to end the Eagle threat.
CSUN responded in the bottom half of the second when Putnam singled to center, scoring two batters later when Grund singled to center. The Matadors scored again in the fifth when Stacy Milne reached on a bunt fielder’s choice and after stealing second, scored on a Peek single.
CSUN added two more runs in the sixth when Jackie Duree singled to center, which scored freshman Sarah Kahn and junior Megan Smith. The Matadors also got a stellar pitching performance from Salazar, who pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts to solidify the 7-1 win.
The second game was much closer, as starting pitchers Merrill for Southern Utah and Sam Schroeder for CSUN weathered several scoring threats for the first five innings.
CSUN finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Peek hit a double to left-center and scored when Grund singled to right. That was all the Matadors needed, as Schroeder went all the way for the shutout and a 1-0 win to sweep Southern Utah.
The Matadors looked to keep the momentum going against Nevada Feb.24. In the first game, the Wolfpack got on the board in the fifth when Cindy Elkins homered to left field to give Nevada a 1-0 lead.
The Matadors, however, rallied in the bottom half of the inning. Stacy Milne started the rally when she bunted to pitcher Candice Rainwater, but McPherson bobbled the ball, then compounded the error by throwing the ball away while trying to throw out Milne at first, giving her two errors on the play. Peek reached and advanced Milne when she popped up to the shortstop, only to have her drop the ball, Putnam bunted to the first baseman, only to have the first baseman bobble the ball enough to have Putnam reach.
After Moshier struck out, Grund was hit by a pitch, allowing Milne to score and Martin drew a walk, allowing Peek to score. Jordan McPherson relived Rainwater, but after forcing Zakosek to fly out at second, Smith came through as she hit into a fielder’s choice, enabling Putnam to score and give CSUN the lead.
Despite giving up the home run, Salazar was once again solid in the circle, as she pitched another complete game with seven strikeouts.
In game two, Nevada again jumped out to the early lead, this time in the third inning. Elkins drew a leadoff walk, then took second on a sacrifice hopper to third. Then after Kymberly Silagyi grounded out to the pitcher, Tyler Schafer hit a liner to right that looked like it landed in foul territory, but was ruled fair by the first-base umpire. The end result was a double that scored Elkins, giving Nevada a 1-0 lead.
CSUN responded in a big way in the bottom half of the fourth. Moshier started the rally when she doubled to left. Grund singled to right to advance Moshier. Martin hit into a fielder’s choice, though Moshier was thrown out at home. Kelly Zakosek stepped up to the plate, and following a double steal by Martin and pinch-runner Sarah Kahn, Zakosek hit her first career home run, which gave CSUN a 3-1 lead.
“I’m not a hero, the whole team’s a hero,” Zakosek said.
CSUN added two more runs in the fifth and sixth to provide a 6-1 margin of victory. Salazar relived Schroeder in the fifth inning and picked up her third win in four games.
“I just basically stayed in my rhythm, pitched the same as I did in the first game,” said Salazar.
The Matadors will take the field March 3 at the Aztec Classic in San Diego.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at email@example.com.