The Cal State Northridge softball team (27-17, 7-8 Big West) showed signs of life last weekend when they swept UC Riverside, but this weekend they will face an even harder opponent as they head to Orange County to face Cal State Fullerton (23-19, 11-4) in a three-game series.
The Matadors are in need of victories to keep their sudden climb in the standings going. In Fullerton, they’ll find a steep hill. The Titans are a talented squad and they have shown that in Big West play. They took the season series from first-place Cal Poly, a team that swept three games from CSUN at Matador Diamond two weeks ago. The Matadors have their hand full against the Titans and will need to play some of their best softball of the year to keep their three-game winning streak alive.
Northridge is beginning to have a deep lineup now that senior Micah Putman and junior Alexandria Alvarado have been hitting the ball well at the plate. Putman is batting .297 with 35 hits and 30 RBIs. Alvarado is batting .279 with 38 hits and 16 RBIs. If the Matadors want to beat the Titans, they will need to get runs early and give the Fullerton pitchers a hard time.
The Titans do have a weakness, and that is hitting. The Matador pitching staff will need to take advantage of that and not let the Titans get on base. The dynamic duo of junior Debbie Duran and freshman Hannah Fraijo will need to shut down the Titan lineup and not let infielder Francesca Gonzales hurt them. Gonzales is batting .315 with 40 hits and 24 RBIs.’ ‘ ‘
Northridge (27-17, 7-8 Big West) vs. Fullerton’ (23-19, 11-4)
Game 1: Saturday, 12 p.m. Game 2: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Game 3: Sunday, 12 p.m.
Place: Anderson Field, Fullerton. Series: Fullerton leads 55-30-1 Last meeting: April 27, 2008, CSUF 7 @ CSUN 0
Interesting Fact: Matadors coach Barbara Jordan won her 200th game on Sunday and became the tenth coach in the history of the Big West to achieve the milestone.
Matador to watch: Hannah Fraijo, freshman, pitcher
Fraijo has been on a rollercoaster ride in her first college season. The pitcher started the season on a good note and seemed to be a solid No. 2 starter. However, in the middle of the year, she had some rocky games on the mound and her number of starts decreased. Now though, Fraijo seems healthy and has given the Matadors quality innings. The freshman was named Big West Pitcher of the Week for her performance last weekend against UC Riverside. She pitched 11 scoreless innings in two games against the Highlanders. Fraijo has a 7-2 record with an ERA of 2.39.
Titan to watch: Ari Cervantes, sophomore, pitcher
In just her second year, Cervantes has become the Titans’ ace because of her great play on the mound. Cervantes has been a work-horse for Fullerton all season long. She has pitched over 187 innings, which is second most in the Big West. The pitcher is tied for third in the league with 16 wins and is fifth in strikeouts with 106. She needs to keep playing at a high level in order for the Titans to win the conference title.
That’s what she said
Debbie Duran, junior, pitcher On this weekend’s outlook:
‘I feel we have a great chance at sweeping Fullerton. We just all have to feed off each other’s energy, trust in each other and enjoy ourselves.’