March 5, 2013

CSUN Falls at No. 15 Oregon 4-1

EUGENE, Ore. -

With light rain falling over the course of the game, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (5-8) could not find the offense needed and fell 4-1 at the No. 15 Oregon Ducks (10-3) on Tuesday afternoon at PK Park. Tommy Simis led CSUN offensively with a pair of hits and also made a run-saving catch at first base, but Oregon scored four unanswered runs to clinch the two-game series.

In the bottom of the second inning, Oregon had runners on first and second with no outs after a hit by pitch and walk. The next batter, Ryan Hambright, popped a bunt into foul territory that was caught on a slide by Michael Livingston in front of the CSUN dugout.

After starting pitcher Harley Holt picked the runner off first and walked a batter, Connor Hoffman lined a ball to first base that Simis dove to his left for to save certain extra bases and runs.

The Matadors then took the lead in the game with an unearned run in the third inning after freshman catcher Michael Najera reached on an error by the shortstop. Following a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Raslowsky, Najera scored on a single to left center by Anthony Lombardo. The RBI was the first for Lombardo in his CSUN career.

Northridge held the lead until the bottom of the fourth when the Ducks scored a pair of runs to create the only offense they would need on the day. Ryon Healy opened the inning with a double to right center and scored when Brett Thomas singled to center field.

Later in the inning, Shaun Chase brought in a run on a sacrifice fly that scored Thomas from third. Oregon added another run in the fifth inning to take a 3-1 lead when Aaron Payne hit a slow bouncer up the middle.

Kyle Attl ranged to his left and made a sliding play before throwing out the runner from his knees but Scott Heineman was able to score from third.

Oregon scored an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to put the final margin at 4-1. After a two-out walk, Steven Packard hit a liner past third base that ricocheted off the spectators' wall down the line and back into left field. Thomas scored all the way from first on the play.

The Matadors had a final chance to tie in the top of the ninth. With a runner on second and two outs, Najera reached base on a dropped liner by the third baseman following a lengthy at-bat. However, CSUN could not keep the momentum going with the tying run at the plate.

Holt (1-2) took the loss for Northridge after pitching 3.1 innings with two strikeouts and two earned runs. Jeff Gold (2-0) lasted 7.0 innings with six strikeouts for the win while Garrett Cleavinger picked up the save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Northridge will have two days to rest before traveling to Sacramento State for a three-game series beginning Friday, March 8. First pitch from John Smith Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.