FULLERTON, Calif. -
Trailing by at least four runs twice in the game, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-15, 0-2 Big West) could not complete a late rally, falling 8-6 to the No. 13 Cal State Fullerton Titans (17-9, 2-0 Big West) on Saturday night at Goodwin Field. Northridge scored runs in the eighth and ninth after being down 8-4 but could not get the tying run on base at the end of the game.
Cal State Fullerton jumped out to an early lead by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run single by Carlos Lopez. The Titans added a third run to go ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the second when Chad Wallach's ground out scored Ivory Thomas.
The Titans pushed the lead to 5-0 after the third inning as two more runs came around to score following an RBI single and a throwing error in the infield.
Not to be put away in the early stages, the Matadors fought their way back into the game by scoring four runs in the top of the fourth. With one out, Adam Barry walked and Miles Williams and Marty Bowen were each hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Nathan Ring followed with a two-run double down the left field line and Bowen wound up scoring later in the inning on a passed ball. Kyle Attl then pushed a sacrifice bunt down the first base line to score Ring and cut the deficit to 5-4.
Cal State Fullerton rebounded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Carlos Lopez and Matt Chapman each picked up an RBI. The Titans added their final run in the home half of the seventh to go ahead 8-4 following Thomas' single that scored Chapman.
Northridge scored a run in the eighth to chip away at the lead after Williams walked to open the inning and Bowen doubled down the left field line. With two outs, Williams came in to score on a wild pitch.
The Matadors nearly completed the comeback in the top of the ninth as Cal Vogelsang tripled home Travis Beck, who had come on as a pinch hitter and walked. The triple was the first on the season for Cal State Northridge. With one out and the tying run at the plate, however, Northridge was set down to end the game.
Alex Muren (5-2) pitched 7.0 innings and struck out two hitters in the loss while Dimitri DeLaFuente (1-0) pitched 3.1 innings in relief to pick up the win for Fullerton. Bowen went 2-for-3 with a run scored and Ring drove in two runs to lead the Matadors offensively.
The series between the Matadors and Titans will wrap up on Sunday, Apr. 1 at 1 p.m. Links for audio, video and live stats coverage of the finale are available at GoMatadors.com.