Richardson Finds a Way for Matadors


The pop of leather hitting cement emanated several times from the Cal State Northridge dugout Friday as disgusted pitcher Jennifer Richardson repeatedly slapped her glove against the wall.

The junior right-hander pitched three hitless innings in the second game of a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader split against Utah, but Matador Coach Janet Sherman replaced Richardson after she allowed the Utes, who would tie the game, to load the bases on three consecutive hits in the fourth.

“I decided it was time for a change,” Sherman said. “Sometimes you’ve got to shake things up. But (Richardson) is a battler.”


Richardson stayed in the game as the designated hitter, and her leadoff double off the left-field fence helped Northridge to a 3-1 victory. Utah won the first game, 1-0.

Richardson slid home on a squeeze bunt by Kelly Toovey in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie and Northridge (17-7, 3-1) added an insurance run later in the inning.

Utah (8-9, 1-1) won the opener on a four-hitter by Ali Andrus.

“I was frustrated; everybody that gets pulled is frustrated,” Richardson said. “I was just looking to hit the ball hard. I was going up there saying, ‘I’m going to hit this ball.’ ”

Northridge batters were frustrated in the second game, with nine hits and 14 runners left on base in six innings. But senior Lee Ann Taylor broke out of a season-long slump by going four for five.

The former leadoff hitter raised her average from .200 to .254 and moved from ninth in the batting order in the first game to seventh in the second.

“I’ll hit wherever (Sherman) puts me,” Taylor said. “I’ve been hitting the ball pretty hard, but nothing’s been falling. It felt good today. Conference is like a new season.”


Freshman Christina Baioa (5-1) held Utah to one hit in 2 1/3 innings of relief for the victory, although she got a couple of scares in the sixth when Cyndee Bennett and Karen Bono hit fly balls to the fence on back-to-back trips to the plate.

Senior Kathy Blake-Small (7-3), the loser in the first game, pitched the seventh inning to preserve the victory.

In the opener, Blake-Small allowed only three hits after the first inning, but she struggled at the start.

Tammy Beer doubled down the right-field line and later scored from third on Bono’s hit, a sharp single to left.

The Matadors stranded eight runners.