The Cal State Northridge softball team could not hold off Long Beach State as the 49ers rallied from 2-0 deficits in both games to win 3-2 and 8-4 April 2 at Matador Diamond.
“We just gave them the games,” head coach Barbara Jordan said.
In the first game, CSUN scored its two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior right fielder Heather Martin started things off with a one-out walk, then senior left fielder Jamie Pederson hit a double to left-center field, but stretched it into a triple when Long Beach unsuccessfully attempted to throw out Martin at home plate.
The next batter, freshman second baseman Micah Putnam, followed with a successful squeeze bunt to score Pederson, giving CSUN a two-run lead.
The lead, however, did not last as two Matador errors enabled the 49ers to score three times in the top of the sixth inning and pull out the win.
CSUN got another solid pitching performance from freshman pitcher Selena Salazar, who pitched five innings without giving up an earned run and striking out five.
In the second game, CSUN again jumped out to a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, freshman shortstop Amanda Peek led off with a home run to right. CSUN got its second run in the second inning on an infield single by sophomore center fielder Jackie Duree that scored Martin.
Long Beach, however, started to chip away slowly at the lead. The 49ers scored their first run off Matador starting pitcher, junior Sam Schroeder on four straight singles. Then Michelle Turner came up to the plate and after battling through several pitches, hit a deep flyball to left, but instead went foul over the left-field fence. Schroeder eventually got Turner out on a flyball to first base and got Jessica Beaver to ground out to third base to end the threat.
In the top of the fifth, Kourtnee Gervasi led off the inning with a single up the middle into center, then took second and third on a sacrifice bunt on Brianna Goad and third on a sacrifice grounder by Tiffanie Wedell.
CSUN attempted to intentionally walk the next batter but the third pitch went over senior catcher Jan Moshier’s head, enabling Gervasi to score the tying run.
Turner doubled to left and later scored the go-ahead run on a single by Jessica Beaver, though Beaver was thrown out trying to get back to first.
CSUN, however, responded in the bottom half of the inning. Peek led off the inning when she beat out a grounder to short, then junior Kelly Zakosek hit a single down the left field line and took second, but only after Peek was thrown out trying to take third.
The next batter, junior Megan Smith hit a deep flyball to straight away center field that cleared the center field wall for a two-run homer, giving the Matadors a 4-3 lead.
CSUN later loaded the bases with two outs, but Pederson’s flyball to left was chased down by Gervasi.
Long Beach, however, refused to quit. Lacy Tyler led off the top of the sixth inning with a double to left, then took third on sacrifice bunt by Jonae Perez. Two batters later, Melanie McCauley doubled down the left field line to score Tyler, tying the game.
The 49ers broke the game open in the seventh inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by Wedell and Turner and an RBI double by Brooke LeSage that scored two runs.
“We couldn’t hold them,” Martin said. “We never really got to a point where we were ok.”
The final game of the series was postponed by rain and was rescheduled for April 12 at 1 p.m. at Matador Diamond.
The Matadors next take on conference rival Cal State Fullerton in a three game series beginning with a doubleheader April 8 beginning at noon at Matador Diamond.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at email@example.com.