April 10, 2012

Matadors Walk Off in Thrilling 4-3 Win Over CSU Bakersfield

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

After allowing the tying run to score in the top of the ninth, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (14-18) were able to plate the winner in the bottom half to edge the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (15-16) 4-3 on Tuesday afternoon in a non-conference game at Matador Field. Ryan Raslowsky hit a ground ball that was misplayed by the shortstop with two outs to score Chester Pak for the walkoff win.

The Northridge victory snapped a six-game winning streak for CSU Bakersfield and the Matadors have now scored four runs in three consecutive games, two of which were wins.

The Matadors opened the scoring in the bottom of the first off of CSUB starter Spenser Messmore, who entered the game with a 1.00 ERA. With one out, Cal Vogelsang and Adam Barry singled to put runners on the corners for Northridge. Miles Williams followed with his team-leading fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot to left on the first pitch he saw from Messmore.

The Roadrunners responded immediately, however, as Kevin Younger hit the first pitch of his at bat over the right field fence for a solo homer to lead off the top of the second. With one out, Andrew Letourneau singled to right field but was thrown out at first by Williams after taking a wide turn around the base.

Northridge was able to continue its defensive success in the top of the third as the Roadrunners had two runners on with two outs. DC Legg singled to left field but Barry came up throwing to home and Marty Bowen applied a tag on Tyler Shryock to end the inning and keep the lead at 3-1.

CSU Bakersfield brought the margin to 3-2 in the top of the fifth inning after a single and a double put two in scoring position with no outs. Oscar Sanay grounded out to Kyle Attl at shortstop to score a run before Northridge reliever Brandon Warner retired the next two batters to end the inning.

Things got interesting in the top of the eighth as the Roadrunners loaded the bases with one out. A single, hit by pitch and walk gave CSU Bakersfield the chance to tie the game against Harley Holt, who had not allowed a baserunner to that point in his previous two innings of work.

Louis Cohen was brought in to relieve Holt and face Younger, who lined a ball to Raslowsky at second base. Raslowsky made a catch on the run and flipped the ball to Attl covering second to complete the double play and get out of the jam.

The Roadrunners pushed the tying run across in the top of the ninth with two outs after the Matadors turned their third double play of the game. Shryock singled home Jordie Hein, who had doubled earlier in the inning.

The Matadors would not let the Roadrunners take advantage of the momentum, as Steven Keller doubled to left field to open the bottom of the ninth. Pak replaced Keller as a pinch runner and Nathan Ring hit an infield single to third to put two runners on with no outs. Pak and Ring then stole third and second, respectively, on a swinging third strike to get into scoring position with two outs.

Raslowsky ended the game on a full-count pitch by hitting a grounder to the shortstop. Shryock went to field the ball and had it bounce off his chest and his throw to first was not in time as Pak scored from third for the winning run.

Cohen (3-1) pitched 1.2 innings to pick up the victory while Messmore (3-2) went 8.2 innings and struck out four batters in a losing effort.

Vogelsang went 3-for-4 with a run scored for the Matadors and Williams finished the day 1-for-4 with three RBIs. Bowen and Ring each added a pair of hits for Northridge in the win.

The Matadors return to Big West Conference play on Friday, Apr. 13 against the Cal Poly Mustangs at Matador Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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