NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors (13-14), after getting just one hit through the first seven innings of play, strung quality at-bats together to overcome a deficit and rally for a 2-1 win over the visiting CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (19-10) on Monday afternoon at Matador Field. Joshua Goossen-Brown hit a two-run double down the left field line in the bottom of the eighth to score the only runs for CSUN on just the third hit for the Matadors.
"Their pitcher was doing a good job of getting us out but our pitchers did a good job of keeping us in the ball game," said Goossen-Brown. "I knew the pitcher was going to come after me with a slider [in the eighth]. I got it and was ready for it and got a hit and Nate [Ring] did a good job of coming around first to score the go-ahead run."
Both starting pitchers, Jonathan Montoya for CSU Bakersfield and Brycen Rutherford for CSUN, were locked in a pitchers' duel for the majority of the game. Montoya did not allow a hit through his 5.0 innings of work while Rutherford struck out a career-high five batters in 4.2 innings on the mound.
Rutherford worked around a pair of walks and three hits allowed in the no decision. He recorded eight flyouts on a windy day at the ballpark, finding ways to mix up his pitches to keep the balls from carrying over the fence.
"Psychologically, late in the game when [the wind] is going out, it certainly makes executing every pitch so important," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis.
Montoya was lifted after five innings of work because he is slated to start this Sunday in a Western Athletic Conference game for CSU Bakersfield. He struck out two and walked four on the day, stranding a pair of Northridge runners on base in the process.
The first Northridge hit of the day was recorded by Chester Pak, who lined a single to center field with one out in the bottom of the seventh off of relief pitcher James Barragan. Pak then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded there to end the inning.
CSU Bakersfield took advantage and put up their lone run in the top of the eighth. Cael Brockmeyer hit a one-out single and the Roadrunners loaded the bases following on another single and a walk with two outs.
Allen Gwynn, who entered as a pinch hitter earlier in the game, then grounded a ball to third. The throw to first was in the dirt, allowing all CSUB runners to advance safely and scoring Brockmeyer on the play.
Northridge rebounded, however, after Dylan Christensen entered from the DH spot to pitch in the home half of the eighth inning. Ryan Raslowsky singled up the middle to lead off the frame and advanced to second when Nathan Ring's grounder was bobbled as the Roadrunners tried to turn an inning-ending double play.
The next batter, Goossen-Brown, lined the first pitch he saw past the bag at third and into the left field corner, scoring both Raslowsky and Ring. Goossen-Brown then came on to pitch the top of the ninth, retiring the side in order to pick up his fifth save of the season.
"Thats a good, fun college baseball game," added Curtis. "I don't mind the low-scoring game where every little play is important and I think we'll make more of those than we won't.
DJ Milam (2-0) pitched 0.2 innings in the eighth in order to earn the win for the Matadors from the bullpen. Christensen (1-3) took the loss for the Roadrunners.
In addition to his two-run double, Goossen-Brown also drew two walks and reached base in three of his four plate appearances.
The Matadors will continue non-conference play on Tuesday, April 2 with a 3 p.m. game against the Loyola Marymount University Lions at Matador Field.