Martin Signals Return to Form, 6-0

After Cal Lutheran managed only two hits in a 6-0 nonconference softball loss at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, the winning pitcher and her coach had a difference of opinion.

CSUN Coach Gary Torgeson called it "her best performance this year."

Junior right-hander Lisa Martin, however, said the best is yet to come.

"I'll have it together in three weeks," Martin said. "You come watch me then. I'll be better."

Martin, one of four pitchers in CSUN's rotation, has pitched in five games this season, winning three without a loss. At Northridge, home of three national and five conference championships in the past five years, a 3-0 record is, apparently, regarded as a slow start.

"Of our starting four," Torgeson said, "Lisa is the only one who has been struggling. This is only her third complete game."

Talk about demanding perfection.

"Well, in softball, most of the pressure is on the pitcher. That's just the way the game is," Torgeson said. "Lisa is probably our best power pitcher. But if you have power, you have also got to get the ball over for strikes. I've had to pull her out of two games."

He didn't have to relieve Martin against Cal Lutheran. Besides allowing only two hits, Martin struck out eight and walked none. Still, Martin said she's not 100 percent.

"I'm having a real slow start," she said. "I didn't have much confidence at the start of the season. I'm getting over it. Mentally, it's caused problems because I was expected to be one of the top pitchers this season."

In 1986, after transferring from Arizona State, she was 14-4 and was a second-team All-California Collegiate Athletic Assn. selection. Expectations were high this year.

But Martin missed almost two weeks earlier this season while she rectified some academic problems. "During that time, the other pitchers were playing, practicing," Martin said. "That time off didn't help."

Fortunately for CSUN, Martin has returned to form--which, conversely, was unfortunate for Cal Lutheran. Of course, Cal Lutheran's six errors didn't help. All of Northridge's runs were unearned.

In the bottom of the first inning, Barbara Jordan hit an infield single, beating a throw by Cal Lutheran pitcher Dee Andra Pilkington. Her throw eventually came to rest in right field and by the time Cal Lutheran (10-5) could recover, Jordan had scampered around the bases to give CSUN a 1-0 lead.

Jordan, a two-time All-American center fielder, went 2 for 3 and scored two runs.

On a similar play in the bottom of the second, CSUN's Lisa Hall singled and came home on two throwing errors.

"We've been averaging one error a game," Cal Lutheran Coach Carey Snyder said. "But today we had some people playing out of position. But those were mental errors. A lot of those are related to nerves. Some of the young players may have been intimidated by coming to play CSUN ."

For Torgeson, Martin's return to form may be just what CSUN (15-5) needs to contend for a sixth straight CCAA title and a berth in the regional playoffs.

"We're right where we want to be right now," he said. "We're just where we need to be."

And, in three weeks, Martin may be there, too.

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