Cal State Northridge softball Coach Janet Sherman told her team Saturday that she didn’t care how the Matadors beat Loyola Marymount in a season-opening doubleheader--just as long as they won.
The Matadors carried out Sherman’s wish, using a triple play, a two-out game-winning hit and a bulls-eye throw from center fielder Jamie Herrington to nail the tying run at the plate in the second game to complete the sweep of unranked Loyola Marymount, 3-1 and 1-0, at Valley College.
“We could do better,” said Sherman of the Matadors, ranked No. 5 in one poll and No. 15 in another. “And we will do better. But we got the cleats dirty and that’s what we needed to do.”
After capitalizing on four errors in the opener, Northridge was handcuffed in the second game by sophomore right-hander Christina Baioa, a former Matador who quit the squad last March after a car accident injured her neck and back.
After allowing a single by Chelo Lopez and hitting Cheri Shinn with a pitch in the first inning, Baioa retired the next 13 batters on only 41 pitches.
“Everybody that’s ever played for us plays great against us,” Sherman said. “She threw great and we didn’t adjust.”
Shinn, a junior right-hander, kept Loyola Marymount off the bases with a good mix of outside drops and knuckleballs. But Shinn, who retired the first 10 batters, found herself in a jam in the sixth.
Christy Wood singled to start the inning and Stephanie Sandell followed with a bunt. Lopez, a junior first baseman, fielded the bunt but her throw to second was in the dirt.
With runners at first and second and none out, Megan Dunbabin hit a soft liner to shortstop Ashlie Hayes, who made the shoestring catch and doubled up Sandell at first base. Lopez fired to second baseman Jodi Borenstein, who caught Wood off base to complete the triple play.
With the sun setting quickly in the scoreless game, Northridge finally got serious in the sixth.
Borenstein led off with a single to right, went to second on Jill Stribling’s bunt and to third on a groundout by Herrington. After Baioa walked Lopez on four pitches, Shinn ripped Baioa’s first offering up the middle to score Borenstein for a 1-0 lead.
“I just told myself, the first one I see, I’m jumping on [it],” said Shinn, who went two for four with two runs batted in during the day.
But Loyola Marymount (0-4) wasn’t finished. Anna-Marie Froysaa hit a one-out chopper to left for a single in the seventh and went to second on Baioa’s groundout. Heather Gelhorn hit a ground ball up the middle that Herrington fielded on the run and threw on one hop to catcher Traci Gallian, who tagged out Froysaa.
“Right before that pitch, coach was yelling, ‘Jamie, in, in,’ so I was already running in when it was hit,” Herrington said. “It was just so fluid I didn’t even have to think about it.”
In the first game, sophomore right-hander Tara Glaister survived a rocky start, surrendering doubles to Carla Workman and Baioa and hitting two batters the first time through the lineup.
Glaister (1-0) allowed six hits, including three doubles, struck out nine and walked one.
The Matadors scored single runs in the first, third and fifth innings, each with the help of an error.
Loyola Marymount’s Heather Hollis, who doubled to start the sixth inning, scored on a flyout by Heather Alexander to get the Lions within 3-1.