Softball loses three straight at hands of Long Beach

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Whether you want to call it the 213 or the LBC, Long Beach was the site where the CSUN softball team lost all three of its games in a weekend series to division rival Long Beach State.

Game one was all defense and pitching, as both teams remained scoreless through the first six innings. The Matadors were unable to capitalize on their only scoring opportunity by stranding a pair of runners in scoring position in the second inning.

Junior Jan Moshier led off with a walk, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Senior Kia Fennell followed with a single to right to put runners at the corners with nobody out. But Long Beach State starting pitcher Meredith Cervenka would hold the Matadors the rest of the inning by getting junior Heather Martin to fly out and junior Jen Dishner and sophomore Erin Sigala on strikeouts to end the inning.

In the sixth, the 49ers had a golden opportunity to take the lead. Tiffanie Wedell led off with a double to right, and Oli Keohohou was walked intentionally to put two on with no outs. But Sigala got Marcel Torres, Jonae Perez and Lacy Tyler to fly out to keep the game scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning.

With one out and no one on base, Brooke LeSage walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice by Lindsay Marksbury, and scored on a single by Lauren Johnson, giving Long Beach the 1-0 victory.

Sigala went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three walks, while striking out three. Cervenka went the distance for the 49ers, allowing no runs, one hit, and no walks while striking out nine.

In game two, Long Beach got off to a fast start in the bottom of the first. With Johnson on second and Keohohou on first, Torres launched a home run to left field to make it 3-0. Then in the third, the 49ers would add two more runs when Wedell led off with a single and Keohohou walked.

Torres then laid down a bunt single, and when Fennell’s throw went into right field, trying to throw her out at first, Wedell came around to score to make it 4-0. One batter later, pinch-runner Jessica Beaver would come home on a sacrifice fly by Tyler to give the 49ers a 5-0 lead.

That was all the run support Torres would need as she allowed only two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in a complete game effort. Fennell went the distance for Northridge in the loss, allowing three earned runs, six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

Game three, which was played Sunday, was not much better for CSUN as the 49ers got off to another quick start.

In the bottom of the first with two outs, Sigala was facing Keohohou, who walked. The next two batters, Torres and Perez, singled to load the bases for Tyler. Tyler then drew a bases-loaded walk to give Long Beach an early 1-0 lead.

Then in the second, LeSage led off with a double, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kourtnee Gervasi. Johnson followed with a fly ball to right that scored LeSage to make the score 2-0.

Long Beach would make it 3-0 on the first pitch of the bottom of the third when Torres hit her second home run in as many games, and her seventh of the season over the left-field fence.

Northridge finally scored its first run of the series in the fifth during a two-out rally. Moores singled to left, Fennell singled to right, and Martin was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cervenka followed by walking Duree to bring in Moores to make the score 3-1.

That would be all for Cervenka, who pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run, four walks and six hits, with six strikeouts, to earn the win. Torres would come in to get the final out of the fifth, and get the remaining six outs over the final two innings to earn the save.

Long Beach State would put the game out of reach by adding two more runs in the sixth. LeSage led off with a single, to left and was pinch-run for by Franciska Morlet. Gervasi then laid down a great drag bunt to second to put runners at first and second.

After a sacrifice by Johnson advanced the runners, Wedell hit a fly ball to center, deep enough to score Morlet and make the score 4-1. One batter later, Torres made it 5-1 with an RBI single to left to score Gervasi.

Sigala went 5 2/3 innings allowing five runs, 10 hits and four walks, while striking out three. Fennell pitched the final third of an inning, giving up one hit.

The Matadors return home next weekend when they host Cal Poly in a three-game series. Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s single game both start at noon at Matador Diamond.