The Cal State Northridge softball team accomplished its first sweep of the season, beating the UC Riverside Highlanders in the first two games by scores of 9-5 and 8-6 April 29 and took the finale the following day in a rout 9-1.
In game one, the Matadors struck in the first inning. Freshman Amanda Peek drew a walk with two outs, then senior designated player Janine Grund singled to left to move Peek into scoring position.
The next batter, senior first baseman Megan Smith, singled to center to bring Peek home. The next batter, senior catcher Jan Moshier, also singled to center to bring home Grund and gave CSUN a 2-0 lead.
Riverside fought back with two runs in its half of the first on RBI singles by Kristie Martinez and Jennifer Thompson. The Highlanders then took the lead, scoring three runs the next inning to take a 5-2 lead.
CSUN, however, refused to quit and slowly chipped away at the lead with two runs in the fifth, then coming alive in the sixth inning, as it scored five in the inning to take the game from Riverside.
Freshman pitcher Selena Salazar was solid in the circle, striking out eight batters and weathering a one-out bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the sixth. Salazar struck out Martinez and got Cassie Greenawalt to ground out to second to end the threat.
The second game was as close as the first. The Matadors again got on the board first, as senior right fielder Heather Martin led off with a walk, took second on a wild pitch, took third on a sacrifice by freshman second baseman Micah Putnam, then scored on a passed ball.
Riverside again scored two in its half of the inning on an RBI double by Martinez that scored Jamie Yee and April Murray. CSUN, though, fought back as Putnam drew a one-out walk and Peek followed with her 12th home run of the year to give CSUN a 3-2 lead.
And the Matadors weren’t done. Grund and Smith both singled and Moshier drew a walk to load the bases. The next batter, junior third baseman Kelly Zakosek, then hit a ground ball to pitcher Danira Iolamo, but Iolamo’s throw to home was off, and pinch-runner Sarah Kahn and Smith crossed home plate to give CSUN a 5-2 lead.
Riverside played catch-up the rest of the afternoon, though they played that role quite well.
The Highlanders scored one run in the bottom of the third on a RBI double by Thompson.
CSUN, however, answered with two runs in the fourth. Putnam doubled with one out and Peek followed suit to bring her home. Grund then singled to center to score Peek, giving CSUN a 7-3 lead.
The Matadors extended the lead further in the fifth with a run courtesy of an RBI single by sophomore left fielder by Jackie Duree that scored Putnam.
Riverside didn’t go down quietly, scoring three runs in its half of the fifth, but CSUN ultimately hung on for the doubleheader sweep.
Junior Sam Schroeder started the game, striking out four and Salazar finished it, coming in for relief in the fourth and striking out three and again getting out of several jams throughout to pick up the save and the win for Schroeder.
The rubber game on April 30 was a much different story, to CSUN’s liking, as the Matadors jumped out in front early and kept the Highlanders down most of the afternoon.
CSUN broke the game open with a six run third. Martin started things off with a one-out walk, then took second on a Highlander error.
Putnam then doubled to left to score Martin. Putnam scored on a double by Peek and Grund singled to right to bring Peek home.
The Matadors continued their third inning onslaught, as they loaded the bases and Zakosek doubled to center to score Kahn and Smith, as Riverside center fielder Yee couldn’t get a handle on the ball, which allowed Moshier to score and cap off CSUN’s stellar third inning.
Riverside scored in the bottom third on an RBI sacrifice grounder by April Murray that scored Yee, but CSUN put the game away in the next inning.
Putnam reached safely with one out on a Highlander error, Peek walked and Grund doubled to right-center field to get both runners home.
Then with two outs, Moshier singled to right-center to score Grund, giving CSUN a eight-run lead, and invoking the eight-run.
Salazar was again solid in the circle, striking out four and going all the way for her ninth win of the year.
Peek continued to hit at a torrid pace, as she batted .600 over the weekend with three doubles, a home run, three RBIs and six runs scored. For her efforts, Peek was named Big West player of the week.
CSUN is now in sixth place with a 17-19 record, 6-9 in Big West play while Riverside is now 22-21, 2-10 in conference play.
The Matadors’ road trip continues as they travel up north to Stockton to face the Pacific Tigers May 6-7.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at email@example.com.