CS Northridge Softball Team Cooled by Rain

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Come-from-behind efforts were the rule of the day for Cal State Northridge on Saturday in preliminary-round games of the Cal State Fullerton PONY softball tournament.

Rain, however, kept the Matadors from registering a two-game sweep. Northridge started the day by beating Western Illinois, 2-1, in a first-round game of bracket play. Nearly seven hours later, Northridge held a 4-2 lead over third-ranked Nevada Las Vegas in the top of the seventh when the game was halted because of rain.

The game will completed at 9 a.m. today. Northridge (23-3-1) needs only one out to advance to the semifinals, where they would face Utah. That game will begin 15 minutes after the conclusion of the rain-delayed contest.

Northridge trailed Las Vegas, 1-0, before sending 10 players to the plate and scoring four times in the third inning. Tamara Ivie's two-run single sparked the five-hit rally.

Northridge still led, 4-1, in the top of the seventh when rain began to fall and Las Vegas started to rally.

The Rebels (16-6) scored a run on a single by Tricia Reimche to make it 4-2 and when Lisa Wilkins-Eames followed with a single, Las Vegas had runners or first and second with the tying run coming to the plate. But umpires called the game at that point.

In the earlier game, Ivie blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to lift the Matadors over Western Illinois.

Northridge, which upset top-ranked Arizona, 2-1, a day earlier, came out flat Saturday.

The Westerwinds (2-6) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a run-scoring single by Missy Brodie. Northridge right-hander Jennifer Richardson (5-0), in her sixth start of the season, gave up two hits in the inning, but shut down Western Illinois thereafter.

"I wasn't mentally prepared going into the first inning, but after that I toughened up," Richardson said.

While Richardson was buckling down, the Matadors were struggling against Vern Wilson (1-3), an off-speed specialist.

The seventh-ranked Matadors had two hits through the first four innings. With two out in the fifth, Vicky Rios and Terry Pearson (two for two) hit back-to-back singles, but were stranded at third and second, respectively, when Jen Fleming grounded to the pitcher.

Beth Calcante led off the sixth with a line-drive double to the left-center gap. With Ivie facing a 2-and-2 pitch moments later, Coach Gary Torgeson called a timeout.

"He came up to me and said, 'All we need is something to the right side--a little poke to the right side,' " Ivie said. "And I go, 'Yeah, I know that.' "

Her response to Torgeson's instruction was a two-run home run, her third, over the left-center-field fence.

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