The Cal State Northridge softball team will be leaving the state of California on a road trip to El Paso, Texas to play in the UTEP Tournament, where they will face five teams from all around the country.
Two weeks ago, the Matadors had a tough time to start the season, at the Cathedral City Kickoff, going 1-4 while facing two ranked teams. On the first day of the competition, the Matadors had a hot bat, scoring 21 runs in two games, but the final two days had them scoring no runs.’ This time around, the Matadors will have a less difficult schedule and a great opportunity to get back on the right track.
In order for the Matadors to do well in this tournament, they will need help from their big bat, junior Alexandria Alvarado.’ At Cathedral City, Alvarado batted .357 with five hits and four RBIs.’
CSUN will also need contributions from other key players, such as senior Micah Putman and junior Jaclyn Rymer. The pitching staff ended its opening week on a high note, only allowing five runs in two games. The Matadors will need big performances from junior Deborah Duran and transfer Claire Rietmann-Grout, who tossed more than seven innings of shutout softball against No. 14 Fresno State.
Northridge will start off the UTEP Tournament with a double-header today. The first game is against the Northern Colorado Bears at 1 p.m. The Bears went 2-3 in their first tournament of the season, the Red Desert Classic. Their pitchers gave up 40 runs and opponents batted .324 with five homeruns.’ The Bears batted a miserable .256 and scored 17 runs.
In the second game of the day, at 3 p.m., the Matadors will face the New Mexico State Aggies, who are considered to be the best team in the tournament.’ The Aggies have a record of 10-2 and opened the season with a hot start, winning their first seven games. They are batting .398.
On Friday, CSUN will play two games again. The first will be against the San Jose State Spartans at 10:30 a.m. The Spartans have started their season on the bad side. First, they lost three out of five games, then, their last four games got rained out. San Jose State is batting .241 while opponents are batting .341.
Northridge will conclude the day by facing the host, the UTEP Miners, at 12:30 p. m. UTEP comes into the tournament with an even record of 5-5. The Miners have been getting great performances from freshman Chelsea Troupe. She has started her college career batting .469, with 15 hits, three homeruns and 10 RBIs. The whole team is also batting well, with an average of .298 However, opponents are batting .304.
On Saturday, the final day of the tournament, the Matadors will go up against the Samford Bulldogs (3-2). The Bulldogs enter the tournament with a batting average of .263 and an ERA of 4.62. Samford is led by senior Jessica Owens, who is batting .615.
The Matadors have a chance to win every game with New Mexico State being their hardest opponent. If the bats can come alive and the pitching can pitch the way it did the last day of the Cathedral City Kickoff, this tournament can be a great opportunity for CSUN to get back on the right track.