NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Jerry Keel threw a career-high seven strikeouts and sophomore Chester Pak drove in a pair of runs as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (1-0) defeated the Saint Mary's Gaels (0-1) 5-0 on Friday afternoon at Matador Field. Northridge scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to seal a victory on Opening Day for the fourth consecutive season.
"Winning on Opening Day is a tribute to our players and says that they are prepared to go out and compete," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis. "This is just the first game of the series and we are focusing to try and win three more competitive games this weekend."
Keel (1-0), a 2012 Freshman All-American and Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year, was stellar all afternoon for the Matadors. He tossed 7.0 innings on the mound without issuing a walk and allowing just four hits.
"Pitching on Opening Day feels great," said Keel. "It's great knowing that the coaches have the confidence in me to pitch against the other team's best guy."
Northridge scored all five of their runs with two outs in the game. The team scored its first run in the bottom of the third off the bat of Miles Williams.
After Kyle Attl was hit by a pitch to start the frame, he was advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Raslowsky. With runners on first and third, Williams lined an 0-2 pitch up the middle for his first RBI of the year.
The Matadors broke the game open in the sixth, scoring four runs on three hits in the inning. Nate Ring walked to lead things off and freshman William Colantono followed suit with a one-out base on balls.
With runners on first and third, Raslowsky hit a bouncing ball in the infield that deflected off of Gaels pitcher Kelsey Outram. Ring scored from third as all three runners reached their destination safely.
The next batter, Pak, doubled to right center to score two and was later brought home on a double down the left field line by Cal Vogelsang.
Brandon Warner replaced Jerry Keel on the mound to start the eighth inning and set down Saint Mary's in order in the eighth and ninth to finish the game. In fact, the Gaels did not have a runner reach base after a two-out single by Riley Heinzer in the fifth.
Pak finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate and also made a spectacular jumping catch on the warning track in right field to end the seventh inning.
Mark Anderson (0-1) pitched 3.1 innings for Saint Mary's and allowed one run in the loss.
The shutout was the first for Northridge pitching since April 20, 2011, when then-junior Vincent Roberts pitched a complete game 2-0 win at Long Beach State. The Matadors are now 32-20-2 all-time on Opening Day.
The Matadors and Gaels will continue their series tomorrow, February 16, with a doubleheader at Matador Field. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.