MORAGA, Calif. -
Junior right hander Alex Muren scattered eight hits and struck out six batters for a complete game victory as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-13) split a doubleheader with the St. Mary's (CA) Gaels (14-8) on Sunday at Louis Guisto Field. After winning scoring a run in the ninth to take a 3-2 win in Game 1, Northridge fell 3-1 in the afternoon contest.
A soggy field and wet conditions did not affect the Gaels' hitting ability, as St. Mary's collected 18 hits on the day to Northridge's six. Muren got out of his first trouble on the day in the bottom of the first as he got out of the inning with runners left on second and third.
The Matadors were able to capitalize on miscues by the Gaels in the top of the third, scoring two runs in the process to take a 2-0 lead. With one out, Brett Balkan was hit by a pitch and Ryan Raslowsky hit a double down the right field line to put Balkan at third.
With two outs, Adam Barry grounded a routine ball to the third baseman, whose errant through allowed both runs to score and Barry to reach second base.
St. Mary's was able to rally in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 2-2. Back-to-back doubles to open the inning put runners at second and third before a sacrifice fly scored one runner and an infield ground out scored another.
From that point on, Muren allowed just a single hit in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings and kept the Gaels off the scoreboard.
Northridge scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the ninth after pinch hitter Chester Pak was hit by a pitch to lead things off. Pak advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Attl and moved to third as Balkan reached on an error by the shortstop.
Pak scored on an RBI ground out by Raslowsky and Muren set down the Gaels in order in the ninth to finish the complete game.
Muren (5-1) set new career highs with nine innings pitched and six strikeouts on the day as he also picked up his second complete game of the season.
Cal Vogelsang went 2-for-5 at the plate and Raslowsky finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored to lead the Matadors.
In the second game of the doubleheader, St. Mary's was the first to strike as the Gaels plated a run in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Patrick Wisdom.
Northridge was able to tie the game in the fifth by executing in situational at-bats after Marty Bowen hit a leadoff single through the left side of the infield. Bowen advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nathan Ring and moved up to third on a passed ball.
Pak, the left fielder in the second game, then dropped down a squeeze bunt that scored Bowen to tie the game.
The Matadors could not seize the momentum, however, as the Gaels hit two RBI singles in the sixth and pitcher Martin Agosta (4-0) retired the last 13 Northridge hitters to earn a complete-game victory.
Jerry Keel (1-1) pitched 5.2 innings and gave up three runs, one earned, to suffer the loss. Raslowsky and Vogelsang each went 1-for-4 in the second game while Bowen went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the defeat.
The Matadors continue their current road trip on Friday, Mar. 30 at Cal State Fullerton. The first of three games scheduled against the Titans will take place at 7 p.m. at Goodwin Field.