NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Eight runs over the final two innings put the game out of reach as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (17-29, 5-9 Big West) lost 11-0 to the UC Davis Aggies (18-24, 4-13 Big West) on Saturday afternoon at Matador Field. The loss for CSUN broke a five-game winning streak in the all-time series against the Aggies.
"We need to execute. If we do that tomorrow, we'll be in good shape," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "We didn't do that on the offensive, defensive or pitching sides. It's rare that you break down in three areas. Today we weren't good."
Pitching dominated the early part of the game and the teams combined for three hits through the first three innings with just one runner reaching second base. Cal State Northridge starter Jerry Keel did not allow a hit until there was one out in the top of the third, but the Matadors were similarly stifled at the plate.
Nick Murphy singled for CSUN to open the bottom of the second but a double play eventually ended the inning. In the third inning, the Matadors had runners at first and second after Brett Balkan singled and William Colantono reached on a fielder's choice. However, UC Davis starter Spencer Koopmans induced another inning-ending double play to escape the trouble.
The Aggies broke through for the first run of the day in the fifth without the benefit of a hit in the inning. A hit by pitch with one out was followed by two walks to load the bases before a ground out by Adam Young put UC Davis ahead 1-0.
The Matadors were poised to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth after Alexis Mercado doubled down the left field line to open the inning. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Balkan but two batters later a third double play kept CSUN off of the scoreboard.
Two more runs scored on the sixth on a two-run double by Izaak Silva. One of the runs was unearned after an error allowed Tanner Bily to reach second base safely.
The offense came alive for UC Davis in the top of the eighth and the Aggies scored six runs, five of which were unearned. Young hit a two-run single and Kevin Barker collected a two-run double to highlight the inning. Two final runs scored for UC Davis in the top of the ninth to put the final score at 11-0.
Murphy led the Matadors at the plate by going 2-for-3 while Mercado picked up his seventh double of the season.
Keel (0-8) was charged with the loss despite allowing three earned runs on just four hits over 7.0 innings. Koopmans (4-1) conceded four hits in 6.0 scoreless innings and Raul Jacobson pitched the final 3.0 innings to earn his first save of the year.
The Matadors and Aggies will each have the chance to win the series in Sunday's finale at Matador Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.