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Matadors Show Missouri With Home Runs, 7-3

Softball: Northridge ends six-game postseason losing streak with six runs in second.

May 21, 1999|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The monkey is dead, or at least off their backs.

Cal State Northridge ended its six-game postseason losing streak in softball Thursday, winning the way it did back in the glory days--with home runs.

The peaking Matadors hit two homers to fuel a six-run second inning and defeated Missouri, 7-3, in an NCAA Division I regional opener at UCLA's Easton Stadium.

"It was really exciting to see us come out and hit the ball that aggressively," Coach Janet Sherman said.

"We had a total team effort today. I'm very proud of them. It's impressive to see."

Northridge (30-22), which is undefeated in six meetings with Missouri (38-20), will face Minnesota in a second-round game today at 3 p.m.

Minnesota (47-18), which eliminated Northridge from the regional in Fresno last year, defeated Creighton, 2-0, in a first-round game.

The Matadors, 2-0 in the flashy new uniforms they started wearing only a week ago, bunched five of their seven hits in the second inning to do most of the damage.

"We ordered [the uniforms] late for a perk for regionals and to motivate them," Sherman said.

So far the uniforms are worth the money.

After Missouri scored a run in the first inning, Northridge responded with an offensive explosion that left Sherman grinning from ear to ear.

"When we went down on that first run, I went, 'OK, let's see what we have,' " Sherman said. "And the answer back was answer enough for me."

Jodi Borenstein's run-scoring double down the left-field line tied it, 1-1, with none out.

Senior Katrina Nolletti followed with the second home run of her career, a three-run shot to left field. Nolletti, one of only three seniors on the Matador squad, said she has some extra motivation.

"[I've] been [in the playoffs] three times and haven't made it through regionals," she said. "I just want to go to the show."

Nolletti's homer was a high fly ball that left Matador fans holding their breath, wondering if it would get out of the park.

It did, barely.

But with one out, Ashlie Hayes ripped a 250-foot shot to left-center field that left no doubt as soon as it hit the bat.

"I think I got it all," Hayes cracked.

Her two-run blast gave the Matadors a 6-1 lead and chased starter Stephanie Falk (24-12), who came into the regional with a 1.17 earned-run average, the lowest of any non-UCLA starter in Regional I.

"I had nerves in the first inning and got through that," Falk said. "Then they started hitting the ball in the second. It happens sometimes.

"I don't think my location was bad, it just wasn't moving a lot."

Northridge ace Tara Glaister (21-13), who allowed seven hits and struck out eight, was grateful for the early offensive support.

"I was more relaxed the whole game [because of the six runs]," Glaister said. "I wasn't so touchy about hitting my spots. We had a few to play with if anything was to happen."

In the fifth, Missouri rallied with consecutive singles to start the inning and scored two runs when third baseman Ui Bal was unable to field a ground ball.

But Glaister retired the next three batters and six of the last seven.

"We had a couple of opportunities and couldn't get the job done with the meat of our order up," Coach Jay Miller of Missouri said. "[They] have to drive in runs to be successful."

Regional One Scoreboard

No. 5 Northridge: 7

No. 2 Missouri: 3

*

No.1 UCLA: 7

No. 6 Alabama: 0

*

No. 3 Minnesota: 2

No. 4 Creighton: 0

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