Keel Sets Career Mark in 2-1 Walkoff Win Over Hawai'i
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Junior left-handed pitcher Jerry Keel set a career high with 10 strikeouts in 8.2 innings, William Colantono hit a walkoff double with one out in the ninth, and the Cal State Northridge Matadors (15-23, 4-7 Big West) held off the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (14-21, 2-9 Big West) 2-1 on Friday afternoon at Matador Field. Keel was charged with an unearned run on three hits and walked just one batter but did not receive a decision.
"I was able to get ahead of the hitters and use my slider to my advantage today," said Keel. "The last couple of weeks I had to use it to get back into counts, but this week I was able to attack and finish hitters with it."
"Jerry has done a nice job of staying with his work. He was very good early in the year but has struggled lately a bit. It is good to see him back on track," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "Give him a lot of credit for simplifying his approach today and just attacking the game."
Keel started the day extremely efficiently, retiring the side with a pair of strikeouts. The Rainbow Warriors were able to push across a run against him, however, in the top of the 2nd to take a 1-0 lead.
Jordan Richartz opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before reaching third on an error. With runners on the corners Keel fielded a soft grounder and missed tagging Richartz, who eluded Keel and scored without a throw.
The Matadors responded to tie the game in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI double by Dylan Alexander. With one out, Nicolas Osuna was hit by a pitch and took second on a wild pitch before Alexander delivered a hard double down the left field line.
Hawai'i threatened again in the third before Keel put a stop to the threat. Stephen Ventimilia walked and Kaeo Aliviado hit an infield single with no outs, but Keel responded by getting a strikeout and a double play to end the inning.
From that point on, Keel did not allow a baserunner until the top of the ninth. He matched his season high of seven strikeouts and his previous career high of nine in the fifth inning when he struckout the side.
Although the Matadors received the best outing of Keel's career, the offense was unable to figure out Hawai'i starter Scott Kuzminsky. Kuzminsky allowed the run in the second but scattered six hits in 6.1 innings before departing in the seventh. Reliever Quintin Torres-Costa entered the game and got a pair of strikeouts with a runner aboard to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Keel was relieved by Anthony Cortez with runners on first and third and two outs in the top of the ninth. Cortez got Matt Miller to fly out to right field and stranded a pair of runners on base.
The Matadors were able to end the stalemate in the bottom of the ninth after Alexander drew a walk to open the inning. He was then replaced by pinch runner Nico Garbella, who eventually moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Michael Livingston.
With a 0-1 count Colantono smacked a double to the gap in right center field, easily scoring Garbella and winning the game for CSUN.
"I went up their thinking about not letting the situation get the best of me," said Colantono. "I just wanted to have another good at-bat like I'd had all day."
Cortez (2-0) retired the only batter he faced to get the win for the Matadors. Torres-Costa (2-1) allowed a run on two hits in 2.0 innings and was saddled with the loss. Brett Balkan went 2-for-2 in the game for CSUN while Colantono also had a pair of hits.
The Matadors and Rainbow Warriors will finish their series on Saturday, April 19, at Matador Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.