SAN DIEGO, Calif. –
Despite scoring the final four runs of the game, including three in the top of the ninth, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (15-25) were unable to complete a comeback bid in a 7-5 loss at San Diego State (29-12) on Tuesday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Matadors scored three times with two outs in the ninth and had the tying run in scoring position when the game ended.
"I thought we played pretty good baseball tonight. They got a big inning but we were one defensive play away from taking control of the game," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "We didn't do that, to the credit of the guys on the other side."
The two teams traded momentum early on but without results on the scoreboard. Chester Pak doubled to center field in the top of the first and the Matadors also had a runner aboard in the second and third innings while starting pitcher Jordan Johnson retired the first six hitters he faced.
The Aztecs were able to break things open, however, with six runs in the bottom of the third inning. Greg Allen and Seby Zavala each had a two-run triple with one out and scored on a single by Tim Zier and a sacrifice fly by Andrew Brown, respectively.
Cal State Northridge scored a run in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to 6-1. Ranny Lowe reached on an infield single and Chester Pak hit a single that the left fielder bobbled, allowing Lowe to score from first on the error.
San Diego State recovered the run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Ty France that scored Allen from third.
Trailing 7-1, the Matadors went on to score the final four runs of the game. In the top of the seventh, Nico Garbella came in as a pinch runner after Lowe singled to open the inning. With one out, Pak singled up the middle to score Garbella from second.
CSUN pulled together three more runs with two outs in the top of the ninth to draw closer on the scoreboard. William Colantono started things off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. The bases were loaded with two outs after Pak was hit by a pitch and Nick Murphy reached on an error.
AB Blanchet drew a walk to force in Colantono from third and Nick Blaser drove in a pair of runs with a double down the right field line off of closer Michael Cederoth. With the tying run in scoring position, Cederoth was able to close out the game with a strikeout.
"Part of [coming back] is getting into their bullpen and helping your odds to be able to narrow down the one pitch but at the same time it's about the gathering of information by our hitters over six, seven, eight innings to be able to put together good at-bats late," added Moore.
Johnson (2-4) took the loss for the Matadors after allowing six runs in 4.0 innings of work. Relief pitcher TJ Kendzora (4-1) gave up a run in 2.1 innings to earn the win while Cederoth notched his 16th save of the season.
Lowe and Pak each had three hits in the game for CSUN while Blaser and Murphy contributed two apiece. Blaser's two RBIs also led the way for the Matadors.
Cal State Northridge will next head to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on No. 23 TCU this weekend. First pitch of Friday's opener at Lupton Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT.