NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Cal Vogelsang, playing in his first game since March 1st, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (23-18, 9-4 Big West) defeated the Pacific Tigers (10-26, 3-10 Big West) in a Big West Conference game on Friday afternoon at Matador Field. Jerry Keel pitched his second complete game in as many outings for the Matadors to pick up his sixth win of the season.
"Jerry gives us some time to settle in and make adjustments at the plate," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis. "It's huge to keep the bullpen out of the game and be in a good position for the next couple of ballgames."
Vogelsang, who had missed nearly two months with a wrist injury sustained in a game at Washington State, was quick to make his impact on the game and hit an RBI single in his first at-bat. After Alexis Mercado doubled to left center with one out and Chester Pak singled, Vogelsang hit a sharp ball up the middle to score the run.
"We have something special with this team this year," said Vogelsang. "I had the option of taking a medical redshirt and coming back next year. I wanted to come back and be a part of what we have this year because it means more to me."
"Cal has been adamant that he was gonna get back this year. A lot of guys, with the injury that he had, would not have come back as quickly," added Curtis. "But he put it in his mind that he wanted to get back and be a part of this and he worked hard to do that. It means a lot as a team player so we are appreciative of that. It's good to see him have success in the first day."
The Matadors added two runs in the bottom of the fourth to go ahead 3-0. With runners on the corners, Mercado brought Nathan Ring in from third on a ground out for one run before another single up the middle by Vogelsang scored Joshua Goossen-Brown from second.
Vogelsang drove in another run in the bottom of the sixth after legging out a single to the shortstop that allowed Goossen-Brown to score again.
Pacific scored its lone run in the game in the top of the seventh against Keel to break a streak of 17-plus innings for the Palmdale, Calif., native without allowing an earned run. Brett Sullivan opened the inning with a single and advanced all the way to third on a passed ball before Jason Taasaas scored him with a ground out.
Northridge got the run back in the bottom of the seventh to extend its lead to 5-1. Michael Najera led off the inning with a double to the right field corner and moved to third on a single by Michael Livingston before being lifted for pinch runner William Colantono. Kyle Attl followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Colantono from third.
A final CSUN run came across in the bottom of the eighth to put a cap on the game. After Pak walked and stole second with one out, Nicolas Osuna singled through the left side of the infield to score the run from second.
Keel (6-1) used just 97 pitches to toss his second complete game of the season and fourth of his career. He worked around eight hits and struck out four while allowing just one earned run. John Haberman (1-5) took the loss for Pacific after allowing five runs on 10 hits in 6.0 innings.
"Today the defense just worked really hard for me," said Keel. "They put a lot of good swings on my pitches and Attl, Mikey and Ring out in center played amazing defense today."
Vogelsang led Northridge with three hits and three RBIs while both Livingston and Goossen-Brown went 2-for-4 at the plate.
The Matadors and Tigers will continue their three-game series with an afternoon game on Saturday, April 27, at Matador Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.