HONOLULU — CSUN pounded out 27 hits as the Matadors swept Hawai’i in Big West Conference softball action Saturday.
The top two batters in the CSUN lineup, Mackenzie Babbitt and Jessica Alexander combined to go 7-for-7 as the Matadors defeated the Rainbow Wahine 3-0 in the opener.
Haileigh Gonzalez led off the CSUN second with a single to right center. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Gonzalez went to third on a Kira Cauley sacrifice bunt. Gator Rascon lined out to second. UH second baseman Alyssa Sojka tried to double Gonzalez off third. The throw would end up down the left field line, allowing Gonzalez to score to give the Matadors a 1-0 lead.
For the second time in the game, Babbitt and Alexander led off an inning with back-to-back singles. This would bring Savannah Horvath up in the top of the third with no outs. A Horvath grounder to short forced Babbitt out at third. Alexander was caught trying to steal third for the second out. UH would get out of the inning when Journey Rojas grounded out to third.
CSUN put runners on the corners in top of the fourth with one out. A Rascon grounder to third was hit hard enough for Nicole Lopez to throw home to retire Gonzalez at the plate. Julianna Martinez grounded out to first to end the inning.
Babbitt recorded her third hit of the game to begin the CSUN fifth. Babbitt would advance to second on a Courtney Hiruko throwing error on the play. Alexander singled up the middle for her third base hit of the game. Babbitt attempted to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate by UH centerfielder Danielle Garcielita. On the very next pitch, Horvath smacked her 15th home run of the season, a two-run blast, to give CSUN a 3-0 advantage.
Rojas and Megan Stevens followed with consecutive singles. With the Matadors standing at 12 hits, Hawai’i starter Dominque Martinez was relieved by Emily Klee. Gonzalez would fly out to center. Cauley grounded out to short to wrap up the inning.
Babbitt went 4-for-4 with two outs in the top of the sixth when she reached on an infield single. For the third time in the game, she reached second on a wild pitch. Alexander remained 3-for-3 in the contest as she walked. Horvath would fly out to right to end the CSUN frame.
Taylor Troost issued her first walk of the game, sending Callie Heen to first on four pitches with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. With pinch-runner Kallie Mahelona at first, Cheeks Ramos ran the count to 3-2 before flying out to Cauley in left at the warning track to get the Matadors back into the dugout.
CSUN outhit Hawai’i (22-25, 6-12 Big West) 14-4. In addition to Babbitt and Alexander who had multiple hit games, Gonzalez and Stevens both went 2-for-4. Troost tossed her third shutout of the season and the eighth of her career. She allowed four hits, struck out two, and walked one. She needed only 81 pitches to post her fifth complete game of the year and she faced only five above the minimum.
Six of the nine CSUN starters recorded at least two hits as the Matadors overcame an early 3-0 deficit to defeat Hawai’i 10-4 to complete the sweep of the Rainbow Wahine.
Troost would get the start in game two for the Matadors. The Rainbow Wahine threatened immediately, getting singles from Rachael Turner and Callee Heen with two outs. Troost induced a Ramos’ grounder to put an end to the UH first.
Rojas broke the seal for the Matadors when she homered to left to lead off the CSUN second. Alexander became 4-for-4 on the day when she doubled down the left field line with two outs in the top of the third.
Troost hit Chardonn Pantastico to begin the Hawai’i third. Garcielita bunted. Alexander fielded the ball at third and tried to get the lead runner at second but was unsuccessful in her attempt as both runners reached safely. Lopez lined out to center on a 3-1 count. Turner walked on four pitches to load the bases. Jillian James relieved Troost. Her first batter was Heen who walked for an RBI and a tie game.
A Ramos’ infield single scored pinch runner Heather Cameron. Britnee Rossi walked to allow the third run to score. Kenedee Jamerson relieved James. She got Sojka to line into a Babbitt unassisted double play to conclude the inning.
Rojas singled with one out in the fourth and would advance to third on a Cauley double one out later. Jaime tied the game when singled to center that drove in Rojas and Cauley. Martinez walked to keep the Matadors’ inning alive. Babbitt singled to center, as pinch-runner Jaymie Steward attempted to score. Garcielita threw out Steward at the plate to keep the game tied at three.
Alexander singled to begin the CSUN fifth. Horvath fouled out before Stevens returned the lead to the Matadors with her 12th home run of the season. Stevens’ two-run blast was to the opposite field in right center. Gonzalez’s two-out fly ball to right was dropped by Pantastico. Gonzalez reached second on the play. Cauley made UH pay for the mistake as her single up the middle drove in Gonzalez for a 6-3 CSUN lead. Jaime singled to left to bring up Martinez who would fly out to left for the third out.
Jamerson retired the first nine batters she faced before Sojka singled up the middle with two outs in the sixth. Jennifer Iseri grounded back to Jamerson in the circle to conclude the UH frame. The Matadors loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh. Alexander hit a grand slam home run, an estimated 250 feet, to make it 10-3.
Lopez drove in a run with a one-out double in the bottom of the seventh to make it 10-4. The Matadors outhit Hawai’i 13-6. In addition to her grand slam, Alexander was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. The sophomore would end the day 6-for-7. Babbitt was 2-for-4 with a walk and would go 6-for-8 against UH. Four other players (Stevens, Rojas, Cauley, and Jaime) would record two hits. Jamerson improved to 3-2 in the circle with 4.2 innings of three-hit relief. She struck out three and did not walk a batter.
“We hit the ball well today,” said CSUN head coach Tairia Flowers. “I thought Kenedee did a great job of going right at the Hawai’i hitters.”
The Matadors (22-34, 7-11 Big West) conclude the 2018 season next weekend when the Matadors host No. 17/20 Long Beach State (39-11, 13-4 Big West). Long Beach State concludes a series at UC Davis Sunday. Friday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m.