PULLMAN, Wash. -
After a five run inning opened the game up for Washington State, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (4-6) scored a pair of late runs but could not close the game in a 7-4 loss to the Cougars (8-2) on Saturday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field. Both Miles Williams and Alexis Mercado hit home runs and Calvin Copping set a new season high with six strikeouts in the game.
Copping and Washington State pitcher Tanner Chleborad were engaged in a pitching duel early on and the first hit of the day came in the home half of the third inning. Copping worked around the two-out hit and recorded a strikeout to end the inning without issue.
Northridge jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning after Kyle Attl singled with one out. Williams came up to the plate and launched a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for his second home run of the season.
The Cougars trimmed the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, however. Jason Monda reached on a one-out single and moved up to second on a balk. With two outs, Adam Nelubowich doubled down the left field line to bring in the run.
Washington State followed it up with five runs in the fifth inning, all charged to Copping. After the first two batters singled, Copping earned his first strikeout of the frame. The next hitter also struck out but reached first on the dropped third strike and an errant throw to load the bases.
After Copping recorded his third strikeout of the inning, Monda drove in three with a double. Two more runners scored on subsequent doubles to break the game open for the time being. None of the runs in the fifth inning were earned.
The Matadors got a run back in the top of the seventh off the bat of Mercado. Leading off the inning, Mercado homered on the first pitch for the first roundtripper of his career.
The Cougars extended the lead back to four runs at 7-3 with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth by Nelubowich before the Matadors could score the final run of the game.
In the top of the ninth Nicolas Osuna picked up the first hit of his career, an infield RBI single that scored Joshua Goossen-Brown with one out. With the tying run at the plate, the Matadors hit into a game-ending double play.
Copping (1-2) pitched 4.2 innings with six strikeouts for the loss. Chleborad (2-1) lasted 6.1 innings on the mound for Washington State with six strikeouts and three walks for the win while J.D. Leckenby pitched the final 0.2 innings for his fourth save.
All seven hits and four runs for the Matadors were registered by different players. Williams collected a pair of RBIs to lead the way offensively for CSUN.
Northridge and Washington State will conclude their four-game series on Sunday, March 3 with a 12 p.m. game at Bailey-Brayton Field. The Matadors will then continue their road trip with a two-game set at Oregon beginning on Monday, March 4.