The 49ers fell in extra innings before beating the Matadors in the second game, 2-0, to split the doubleheader.
Game 1: CSUN 4, LBSU 2 (8 innings) VIDEO HIGHLIGHT
Long Beach State starting pitcher Erin Jones-Wesley shut down the visitors in the first two innings, but she lost her control in the third and Cal State Northridge's Abby Linn was able to get on base with a bunt single. On a 3-1 pitch, Crystal Maas blasted a double to deep right center field. That's when the 49er defense fell apart, committing two errors and allowing Maas to score to give CSUN the 2-0 lead.
Long Beach State responded with a run of their own when Shayna Kimbrough bunted a single but was able to advance to second on a fielding error by Matador catcher Mikayla Thielges. With a runner in scoring position, Hannah De Gaetano came through with a single to right allowing Kimbrough to score from second.
Jones-Wesley and CSUN starter Shelly Tait didn't allow a runner to reach base until the fifth inning when Long Beach's Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi leadoff with a strong single up the middle. Dana Garcia laid down a nice bunt to move the runner over to second, setting her up for Kimbrough who hit a double to left to bring Tupua-Tautalatasi in to score and tie the game.
The 49ers hoped to prevent the game from going into extra innings in the bottom of the seventh and came very close, getting Ashley Holmes all the way to third after reaching second when Matador center fielder Abby Linn misplayed a routine fly ball. However, Long Beach State couldn't cash her in as Tait continued to pound the inside of the strike zone and jammed two batters for an ground ball out and an easy pop out.
In the top of the eighth, Jones-Wesley was shaky again like the third innings and hit the leadoff batter Korrine Randazzo. Tiffini Lucero then drew a walk, and Thielges came through with a single to left but 49ers' left fielder, Brianna Stephan, who fired the ball to Dana Garcia at home who blocked the plate and prevented Randazzo from scoring.
CSUN pinch hitter Tanna Bindi was the hero of the game and hit a sharp liner down the right field line that scored both Lucero and Thielges bringing the score to 4-2. Tait put the 49ers down in order in the bottom of the eighth.
"We didn't make the adjustments at the plate," said Long Beach State head coach Kim Sowder. "We're just not putting it all together right now. It's been something different every game."
Game 2: LBSU 2, CSUN 0
The 49ers struck quick in the second game and were able to score in the first inning. Shayna Kimbrough swung at the very first pitch she saw and connected for a single to left. Tupua-Tautalatasi advanced the runner to second with a sacrifice bunt. De Gaetano reached first with a hard hit ball to the shortstop that moved Kimbrough down to third. After walking Darian Tautalafua, Northridge pitcher Briana Elder gave up a sacrifice fly to Karli Sandoval (pictured), allowing Kimbrough to score from third bringing the score to 1-0.
Long Beach threatened to score again collecting, three hits in the bottom of the third, but could not cash them in and left two runners on. They kept the momentum going into the fourth when Sarah Carrasco hit a ball off the wall in right center for a stand up double. Holmes followed with a single to left. That put Carrasco on third and she was able to score on the sacrifice fly that Stephan hit out to center to extend their lead to 2-0.
Shayna Kimbrough displayed great athleticism to jump up and catch a hard line drive by Lucero to keep the bases clear in the top of the six. The Matadors mounted a rally in the seventh with two hits, but ultimately fell short leaving them stranded and securing a 49er victory.
Long Beach will host UC Santa Barbara this weekend in a three-game series. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:00 pm, with a single game to be played on Sunday at 1:00 pm.