The CSUN Softball team opens its 46th season at the SDSU Season Kickoff Feb. 9-11. This concludes the 2023 preview with the Matadors’ outfield and a look at CSUN’s opponents.
Sophomore Mikayla Carman will anchor the Matadors in left field. Carman was named second-team All-Conference and to the All-Big West Freshman Team. In league-only games, Carman hit .358 and recorded 29 hits, both of which were the 10th highest in league play. She started 48 times in 50 appearances and was second on the team in hitting (.302) and hits (38). In addition, Carman scored 23 runs, the third-most on the squad, and drove in 17 runs, the fourth-most on the team.
Carman earned the final Big West Freshman Softball Player of the Week honor on May 16, 2022, as she hit .500 for the week as the Matadors recorded its fourth conference sweep at UC Santa Barbara on May 13-14. She finished the regular season 40th in Division I in Toughest to Strikeout (18.0).
Alexa Landeros finished 2022 starting in right field for the Matadors. Landeros started 27 of her 38 appearances. She recorded one home run and eight RBI. In addition, Landeros scored 11 runs and recorded five doubles and one triple.
Maiya Alemania was forced to take a medical redshirt in 2022 and will look to return to form to contribute to CSUN. In addition, three freshmen, Kennedy Gustin, Bella Mejia, and Breli Agbayani Shibao, are aiming for a spot in the Matadors’ starting lineup.
Gustin hit .439 as a senior for Alhambra High School on her way to a .457 career prep batting average. In addition, she posted a .542 career on-base percentage, 25 RBI, and 60 runs scored during her high school career. Mejia is a 2022 graduate of Great Oak High School, where the team won the 2019 Southwestern League title and was CIF runner-up.
Agbayani Shibao was a teammate of CSUN’s Carys Murakami at Hawai’i’s Maryknool High School and helped the team win the 2022 Datahouse/HHSAA Division I Softball Championship. She was named honorable mention All-Hawai’i as a senior by ScoringLive.com and chosen second team All-League as a senior. Agbayani Shibao was a member of Team Polynesia 18U, which won the 2022 Triple Crown Softball International Challenge.
“The outfield has the experience and young talent all over,” said CSUN head coach Charlotte Morgan. “They have speed and strength and have done great work with their arms. They cover the ground, throw runners out, and eliminate the extra 60 feet.”
At this weekend’s tournament, CSUN opens with No. 22 Arizona State before facing two other teams; Notre Dame and the host Aztecs, who received votes in the preseason polls. The Matadors round out the stay in San Diego with games against Memphis and Northern Illinois.
Week two sees CSUN travel to CBU Classic in Riverside, where the Matadors take on Colorado State, Pacific, and the host Lancers in preliminary play before the tournament records result in the schedule for the final two games.
The third tournament of the year is the always-tough Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, where CSUN faces Texas A&M, No. 19/25 Oregon State, Ohio State, and Iowa.
Week four finds the Matadors at the University of Arizona’s Hillenbrand Invitational. CSUN takes on Weber State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Nebraska, and the host Wildcats, who are ranked as high as No. 12 in the preseason polls.
The final tournament of the regular season is the Silicon Valley Classic II at Santa Clara and San José State. The Matadors will take on Santa Clara, Utah State, Rhode Island, and San José State over the two-day tournament.
The CSUN home opener is set for Mar. 14 when the Matadors host Colgate in a doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m. Big West Conference action begins Mar. 18-19 at Cal Poly. Then, CSUN returns home for a six-game homestand against Hawai’i and Long Beach State. Finally, the Matadors head to Cal State Fullerton Apr. 7-8. The defending Big West champions, the Titans, received votes in the preseason polls. UC Davis is at CSUN Apr. 14-15.
The University of San Diego travels to Northridge Apr. 19. CSUN heads back on the road Apr. 22-23 at UC Riverside. The final regular season non-conference game is significant, as No. 2 UCLA plays in Northridge for the first time since 2019 on Apr. 25 at 3 p.m.
CSUN plays two of the final three conference series at home Apr. 29-30 against CSU Bakersfield and May 12-13 against UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors are at UC San Diego May 5-6.
“We are excited about our preseason schedule,” Morgan said. “We are on the road for five weeks and will be tested in every aspect of the game. We want our players to learn from the success and failures that we come across. This group is exciting, and we look forward to seeing what they can do. You will see different lineups to get everyone some experience, so they are ready. This schedule will test them in every aspect, but that is why they have trained so hard and prepared for this schedule. I told the group we must process, learn, and lock in with everything they go through to stay as a team. Our season is a marathon; we will keep them present and intentional in everything they do.”
To read the previous previews click the links below.
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