SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -
Despite recording nine hits, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (31-21, 15-7 Big West) were defeated 5-1 by the No. 27 Cal Poly Mustangs (35-16, 13-9 Big West) on Friday night at Baggett Stadium. Eight different Matadors recorded a hit and the pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts but a big inning early spelled the difference in the game.
Northridge scored its only run in the top of the third inning to take a 1-0 lead on the Mustangs. Nicolas Osuna led off the inning with a bloop single down the right field line and Michael Livingston singled to center to give the Matadors a pair of runners with no outs.
Kyle Attl then laid down his 11th sacrifice bunt to move the pair into scoring position. Attl is now tied for the single-season record for sac bunts in Northridge History. Nathan Ring brought home Osuna with an infield single to shortstop that put the Matadors ahead for the time being.
The Mustangs responded with four runs in the bottom of the third inning, producing all of the needed offense against CSUN starter Jerry Keel. Following a leadoff triple, Denver Chavez and Nick Torres came through with RBI singles. With the bases loaded, Elliot Stewart doubled home a pair of runs to put Cal Poly ahead 4-1.
Cal Poly added a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double by Torres that scored John Schuknecht.
Northridge reliever Anthony Cortez came in to pitch with runners on second and third and two outs and recorded a strikeout to escape the danger. Cortez wound up pitching a career-high 3.1 innings with a career-high five strikeouts.
Jordan Johnson, making his first appearance since March 1, 2012, pitched a scoreless eighth inning for CSUN and struck out two hitters.
Keel (7-2) pitched 3.2 innings and struck out four but took the loss for the Matadors. Cal Poly starter Joey Wagman (11-3) pitched 7.0 innings with nine strikeouts to get the win.
Cal Vogelsang went 2-for-4 to lead Northridge at the plate while Livingston and Ring also added stolen bases.
The Matadors and Mustangs will continue their three-game series on Saturday, May 18, with an afternoon game at Baggett Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.