The Cal State Northridge softball team had another impressive weekend, as it took two out of three from the Pacific Tigers in Stockton. The Matadors and Tigers split the first two games on May 6, winning the first game 2-1 and losing the second game 6-1 before rallying to take the series finale 9-1.
In the first game, CSUN scored in the second inning when senior Heather Martin hit a one-out sacrifice flyball to right field to score freshman pinch runner Sarah Kahn.
Kahn had substituted for senior Janine Grund, who led off the inning with a double to right-center field.
The Tigers had a chance to respond in the bottom half of the inning when they loaded the bases with one out, but freshman Selena Salazar got Mandy Hickman to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
CSUN maintained its lead through the next three innings, then extended it by a run in the sixth courtesy of a single by junior Kelly Zakosek that scored freshman Amanda Peek.
Pacific finally got on the board in the bottom half of the sixth when Lauren Weyman singled to center to score Jennifer Curtier.
The Tigers had a chance to win the game an inning later when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Salazar, just as she did in the second, showed her poise and got Kristie Allen to ground out to second to end the game.
Salazar once again went all the way for the Matadors, giving up five hits, six walks and striking out two batters.
The second game, however, was a much different story, as Pacific jumped all over the Matadors early and the end result was a five-run win.
The Tigers scored in the first inning when Curtier singled to center to score Gina Carbonatto.
Two innings later, Pacific added another run when Lindsey Garehime singled to left-center field to score Curtier.
Pacific made it a three-run game in the fourth when Carbonatto scored on a CSUN error, then broke the game wide open the next inning, as the Tigers crossed home plate three times in the fifth to open up a commanding 6-0 lead.
Only a Grund double to right-center which scored junior Megan Smith in the sixth inning kept the Matadors from being shut out.
CSUN wasn’t done, however, as they rebounded to take the finale from the Tigers the next day.
The Matadors jumped out to the early lead in the second inning when senior Jan Moshier hit a two-out single to center, then scored when Zakosek doubled to left.
Pacific, though, responded in a big way in its half of the inning. Lizzie Hagen led off with a walk and Garehime followed through with a shot over the right field wall for her fourth home run of the year, which gave Pacific a 2-1 lead.
The Matadors, however, weren’t fazed, as they came back to even the game in the next inning when Martin singled with one out, advanced to second on a sacrifice by freshman Micah Putnam, and eventually came home on back-to-back singles by Peek and Grund.
CSUN re-took the lead an inning later. The Matadors loaded the bases with no outs, but it took two outs before CSUN could get that run home, and it was Putnam who got the RBI as she drew a walk to score Zakosek.
The Matadors extended their lead in the fifth. Grund and Smith walked to lead off the inning. Freshman Stacy Milne came in to pinch-run for Grund, and she, along with Smith moved up one base courtesy of a sacrifice bunt by Moshier. Milne crossed home on a wild pitch by Alyce Jorgensen and Smith came around to score on a sacrifice fly to left by Zakosek.
CSUN continued to pull away in the sixth when Martin sent a deep flyball over the left field wall for her first home run of the year.
Pacific, however, refused to go down without a fight, as they loaded the bases in its half of the inning and Jen Stebbins drew a walk to force in Lauren Sandelin. The next batter, Brittany Hyams singled to left to bring home Hagen.
The Matadors, though, sealed the win with three runs in the seventh. Milne drew a leadoff walk, then took third on a Tiger error which enabled Moshier to reach safely. Zakosek singled to right to score Milne. Moshier and Zakosek moved up a base and Moshier came home on a wild pitch by relief pitcher Allen, but the throw to home plate by catcher Hickman got away from Allen, which enabled Zakosek to score CSUN’s final run of the afternoon.
Zakosek went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and Salazar earned her second win of the series.
Zakosek also batted .625 for the weekend with four RBIs and her efforts earned her “Big West Player of the Week” honors. She became the second straight Matador to earn the honor behind Amanda Peek, who received the honor last week for her performance against UC Riverside.
CSUN is now 19-20 on the year and finishes Big West Conference play with a record of 8-10, good enough for fifth in the conference.
The Matadors finish up the regular season with three non-conference games against future Big West Conference member UC Davis. May 13th’s doubleheader will start at 1 p.m. and the finale on May 14 will start at noon.
Saturday’s game will also mark the final game at Matador Diamond for seniors Grund, Martin, Moshier and Jamie Pederson. All four seniors will be honored prior to the game.
Ivan Yeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.