Softball team takes two of three against Riverside

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The CSUN softball team ended its nine-game losing streak and took two of three games against Big West rival UC Riverside, while playing the last home stand of the season.

In game one, the Highlanders got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the fourth inning thanks to two Matador errors, and added another run in the fifth on an RBI single by Jamie Yee.

The Matadors would finally get on the board in the bottom of the sixth and did so in a big way.

With junior Heather Martin and senior Kia Fennell on base after hitting singles, junior Jan Moshier crushed her seventh homerun of the season over the left-field wall tying, the score at three.

“I was just looking for a pitch to hit hard, and I got a pitch I could drive,” Moshier said. “I had a feeling that it was going to be an inside pitch, but I was not expecting a fastball.”

CSUN’s lead would not last long, as Riverside took the lead back in the top of the seventh on an RBI double by Kristie Martinez and an RBI single by Yee. The Matadors trailed by two heading into their final at-bats.

Junior pinch-hitter Emilee Moores drew a walk while junior Janine Grund singled to right. Martin then drew a walk to load the bases, and junior Jenny Cochran walked in a run, scoring Moores. Fennell followed with a single to left to score junior pinch runner Jen Dishner and Martin to give CSUN the dramatic 6-5 victory.

Sigala recorded the win, going all seven innings while allowing three earned runs, six hits, three walks and five strikeouts.

Christin Songer picked up the loss for UCR, going 6 1/3 and allowing six runs, seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Danira Lolamo faced the final two batters, allowing a walk and the game-winning hit.

“It said a lot about the team, that we came back from three runs and then from two runs,” Head Coach Barbara Jordan said. “This is what Cal State Northridge softball is all about.”

However, the magic would be lost for the Matadors in game two of the doubleheader Saturday. The Highlanders wasted no time, scoring two runs in the first inning on an RBI single by Melissa Sanchez and a sacrifice fly by Elizabeth Buck and never looked back.

UCR scored two more runs in the fourth on a Martinez RBI double and a Jessica Black bases-loaded walk, two more runs in the fifth on a two-run double by Martinez, and one run in the sixth on an RBI single by Buck.

CSUN tried to stage another comeback in the seventh, but it was too little too late.

Grund had a two-out double and sophomore pinch-runner Kelly Zakosek would score three batters later when sophomore Lauren Allen drew a bases-loaded walk. Iolamo then retired Martin on a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the game and give UCR the 7-1 win.

Iolamo went all seven innings for UCR, allowing one run, two hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Fennell started in the circle and allowed four runs, four hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings with three strikeouts. Sigala pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing three runs, seven hits and two walks.

The loss was the first time Northridge has ever lost to Riverside while both teams were Division I schools and ended a ten-game winning steak against the Highlanders.

“You can come back when you’re down by three or four runs,” Jordan said. “But it’s tough to come back from a seven-run deficit, and we let them get too many (runs) on the board.”

On Sunday, the Matadors would play their last home game of the year, and it would be the last home game for Fennell, the only CSUN senior. Before the game took place, Fennell was honored for her career in a CSUN uniform.

“At the beginning of the game, it was very sad, and I didn’t think I was going to cry when we did the whole senior ceremony,” Fennell said. “But after that, everyone just pulled it together.”

However, it was Riverside that came out strong, scoring three runs in the first inning on one swing of the bat. With April Murray on second after reaching on a leadoff error, and Yee at first following a walk, Buck hit a three-run homer to give the Highlanders an early 3-0 lead.

The Matadors would chip away with a run in the third as Martin, Moshier and Moores had consecutive two-out singles to cut Riverside’s lead to 3-1.

In the bottom of the fourth inning CSUN’s bats exploded with a six-run inning that gave them the lead for good. Junior Jenny Cochran drew a one-out walk. Freshman Jackie Duree followed with an infield single, and junior Jamie Pederson walked to load the bases.

After UCR got sophomore Darcy Hillstrom to ground into a fielder’s choice, in which Cochran was thrown out at the plate, Martin crushed a grand slam over the left-center field wall, her first homer as a Matador, giving CSUN a 5-3 advantage. Moshier followed Martin with a homer of her own to the same spot, making the score 6-3.

That would be the end of the day for Iolamo, but it didn’t make any difference to the Matadors. Moores doubled off Songer, who came in to relieve, and Fennell singled her in to give Northridge a 7-3 lead.

“In the last game, I struck out with the bases loaded, and my mindset was just to get this done,” Martin said. “I just took it, went with it and bombed it.”

However, Moshier was not finished at the plate as she hit her ninth homer of the season, third of the weekend and second of the game in the sixth inning, with Martin aboard to give CSUN a 9-3 lead.

“I’m seeing the ball pretty well right now,” Moshier said. “I’m just trying to sit back and stay on my legs, and when I do that, I usually hit the ball hard.”

Fennell threw a complete game to get the win fro CSUN, giving up three hits, three runs and two walks, while striking out three.

Iolamo went 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs, seven hits and three walks with one strikeout and recorded the loss. Songer pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, six hits and one walk with one strikeout.

“It was nice to see them battle,” Jordan said. “It is important that we finish the year on a strong note and go into next year knowing the potential that we do have. I expect us to excel in every area next year.”

With the two wins, the Matadors improved to 16-20 overall and 5-13 in the Big West, while the Highlanders fall to 15-40 and 3-15 with the two loses.

The Matadors finish up their 2005 campaign with a three-game series at CSU Fullerton beginning this Friday. Friday’s doubleheader starts at 4 p.m., while Saturday’s game begins at 1 p.m. at the Titan Softball Complex.