The CSUN softball team swept its final non-conference series, playing their first road games after a 12-game homestand, and beating the struggling UC Davis Aggies 3-2, 3-0 and 3-1 last weekend at La Rue Field in Davis, Calif.
In game one, the Aggies took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning when Megan De La Hoya led off with a double, and two batters later, came home on an RBI single by Ashley Johnson to make the score 1-0.
The Matadors did not have any problems getting on base in the first four innings against Aggie starting pitcher Rachel Kelly. However, CSUN could not make them count, leaving seven runners on base until the top of the fifth inning.
With one out, junior Emilee Moores tripled to left and junior Jan Moshier drove her in with a single to left that tied the game at one. After junior Heather Martin was hit by a pitch, senior Kia Fennell singled to center to load the bases.
Junior Jenny Cochran followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Moshier to make it 2-1. Sophomore Erin Sigala followed with a single to left scoring Martin and giving CSUN a 3-1 lead.
The Aggies got a run back in the bottom of the fifth inning when Marie Davies scored on an RBI single by Megan Turman cutting the Matadors lead to 3-2.
However, Fennell would shut down the Aggies for the rest of the game, retiring the final eight batters in relief of starting pitcher Erin Sigala.
Fennell went the final 2 2/3 innings striking out three to pick up the save. Sigala recorded the win for CSUN, pitching 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs, four hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
Rachel Kelly allowed two runs, five hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings with three strikeouts for UC Davis. Stacey Benzing went the final 2 2/3 innings, giving up one run, three hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
“It was great to be away from home,” Head Coach Barbara Jordan said. “It was nice to ride the bus, spend time with the girls and see them in the spotlight.”
In game two, the Matadors took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Martin, who reached on a leadoff error, scored on a two-out, RBI single off the bat of sophomore Darcy Hillstrom.
The Matadors would add two more runs in the top of the third inning. With Moores on first after reaching base on a one-out error, Moshier came up to bat. She hit her team-leading fifth homerun of the season over the left-field fence to give the Matadors a 3-0 lead.
The three-run lead was all starting pitcher Fennell needed as she went the distance for the Matadors, giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out eight in the shutout.
“I try to go after them on every pitch,” Fennell said. “There are times where I feel I ease up on them so I try to go into the game mentally tougher.”
Lindsay Tognetti pitched all seven innings for the Aggies, allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts.
In game three, played Sunday, the game was scoreless until the top of the third inning, when freshman Jen Whitcomb led off with a single. One batter later, Whitcomb scored on an RBI single to center by Moshier. Moshier then stole second and came home one batter later when Fennell singled to right, giving the Matadors a 2-0 lead.
No more runs would be scored until the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Moores and Moshier hit back-to-back singles and Martin was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Fennell followed with a groundball to shortstop, but the Aggies were unable to get the force play at second, allowing Moores to score, giving the Matadors a 3-0 lead.
The Aggies would finally get on the board in the bottom of the inning with an unearned run, when Nikki Sheldon’s RBI double drove in Turman cutting CSUN’s lead to 3-1. Sigala would then get Carrie Brueckner striking out looking to end the game.
Sigala allowed three hits and one walk with four strikeouts to improve to 5-5 on the season. Kelly went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs and six hits with five strikeouts for UC Davis, while Lindsay Tognetti retired the final batter of the game.
“This weekend was not the most exciting in terms of run production,” Jordan said. “But the most important thing was we found ways to win. We know we can pitch, hit and play defense. How mentally tough we are will be the determining factor.”
With the three wins, the Matadors improve their record to 14-10, while the Aggies fell to 5-29. The Matadors do not return to the field until April 16, when they start a three-game Big West series at Long Beach State.
“It is nice to have time to prepare for a good team like Long Beach,” said Jordan. “But our goal is to go down there and win two out of three.”