CSUN Topped in Opener at UC Riverside 4-2

RIVERSIDE, Calif. –

Ranny Lowe recorded three hits and Nicolas Osuna reached base four times, but the Cal State Northridge Matadors (12-17, 1-3 Big West) were defeated by the UC Riverside Highlanders (13-12, 2-2 Big West) in a Big West Conference game on Friday night at the Riverside Sports Complex. The Matadors scored two runs in the first inning but the Highlanders whittled away the lead and rallied for the win.

"The team swung it well beyond the first inning, but it didn't fall for us," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore.

The Matadors jumped out to an early lead by scoring two runs in the top of the first. Lowe opened the game with an infield single to second base and advanced to third on a single to left center field by Chester Pak. Nick Blaser then hit a single to right field to bring in Lowe and Pak later scored on an infield single by Dylan Alexander to give CSUN a 2-0 lead.

"I didn't think our at-bats in the first inning were all that good outside of Chester's," said Moore. "We had some better at-bats later in the game, we just didn't get payment for them."

UC Riverside scored a run in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 2-1. With one out and runners at first and third, Devyn Bolasky singled through the left side of the infield to score Joe Chavez.

The Highlanders tied the game with another run in the bottom of the fifth after Chavez drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Francisco Tellez hit an infield single to the hole at second base and Chavez scored from second without a throw.

Two more runs came across for UC Riverside in the bottom of the eighth to give the Highlanders the lead for good. Drake Zarate plated David Andriese with a safety squeeze bunt with one out and Matthew Ellis brought in Nick Vilter with an infield single later in the inning.

The Matadors were able to get a single from Brett Balkan in the top of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate but were unable to score against left-handed pitcher Dylan Stuart.

Kenny Rosenberg (0-2) was hit with the loss after allowing the deciding run on one hit with one strikeout in 0.2 innings. Jacob Smigelski (4-3) went 8.0 innings with five strikeouts in the winning effort for UC Riverside. CSUN starting pitcher Brycen Rutherford allowed two runs in 6.0 innings for his seventh consecutive quality start.

Lowe finished the game 3-for-5 with a run scored for the Matadors while Osuna was 2-for-2 with a pair of singles, a walk and a hit by pitch. 

The Matadors and Highlanders will play the second game of their three-game series on Saturday, April 5th. First pitch at the Riverside Sports Complex is scheduled for 6 p.m.