April 3, 2012

Six-Run Sixth Not Enough as CSUN Baseball Falls to LMU

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

Five runs in the top of the first inning for Loyola Marymount proved to be too much for the Cal State Northridge Matadors (12-16), as they fell 10-6 to the Lions (12-12) in a non-conference game on Tuesday afternoon at Matador Field. Despite scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth, Northridge could not provide the offense it needed to complete the comeback attempt.

Loyola Marymount made a statement early with five runs in the opening inning, capitalizing on a pair of errors by the Northridge defense. After a fielding error that put runners on first and third with one out, a failed pickoff attempt allowed the first run of the game to score.

Four unearned runs scored in the frame on RBI hits by Scott Harkin and Joey Boney and a two-run double for Nick Devian.

Ryan Raslowsky led off the bottom of the first for Northridge with a single through the left side but the Matadors could not get another runner on base until Todd Eskelin reached on an infield single in the fifth inning.

The Lions extended their lead to 8-0 with three more runs in the top of the sixth. All three runs were unearned as a throwing error by the pitcher allowed one to score and two more came around when Harkin hit a two-run single to center field.

Northridge was able to make it a game, however, by scoring six runs in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Brett Balkan came in as a pinch hitter and drew a walk to start the rally. Cal Vogelsang then hit a double to right center to advance Balkan to third and extend his hitting streak to 12 games.

Adam Barry followed with an infield RBI single and Vogelsang scored the second run when Miles Williams laid down a safety squeeze bunt and reached on a fielder's choice. Marty Bowen hit a single to load the bases with one out and Northridge trailing 8-2.

Nathan Ring singled to right center to score Barry before Todd Eskelin and Steven Keller both drew bases-loaded walks to force in a pair of runs. Matthew Moreno's sacrifice fly scored Ring to cut the deficit to 8-6 before the inning was over.

The Matadors could not extend the momentum, though, as a pair of RBI doubles in the top of the ninth gave the Lions a 10-6 final margin.

The loss for Northridge means the two sides will split the season series after the Matadors defeated the Lions 12-1 in Los Angeles earlier this season.

On the day, Barry led the Matadors offensively by going 2-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. In all, six different Northridge players scored a run while no Matador had more than one run batted in.

Harkin, Boney and Zac Fujimoto each collected three hits for the Lions, with Harkin also tallying three RBIs.

Relief pitcher Ryan Hawthorne (1-0) picked up the win and Bret Dahlson (4) the save for the Lions while Brandon Warner (1-2) took the loss for the Matadors.

Cal State Northridge will return to action this Thursday, Apr. 5 with a Big West Conference series at UC Santa Barbara. The weekend series will feature an audio broadcast for each game and live stats available on GoMatadors.com.