PULLMAN, Wash. -
After a rainy day with temperatures hovering around freezing, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (4-4) dropped a pitchers' duel to the Washington State Cougars (6-2) 2-1 on Thursday night at Bailey-Brayton Field. The teams traded runs early before an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh separated the two for good.
The Matadors had the first opportunity to score in the top of the first following a two-out single by Miles Williams. After the single, Williams stole second but could not come around to score before the inning was over.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard first with a run in the bottom of the first. With runners on the corners and one out, Yale Rosen grounded a sharp ball to CSUN's Joshua Goossen-Brown at first base.
Goossen-Brown tagged the base and threw down to second to complete the double play but Trek Stemp was able to score from third before the final out of the inning was made.
Northridge answered with the tying run in the top of the third. Third baseman Ryan Raslowsky opened the inning with a walk and stole second with one out. Cal Vogelsang then brought him home with an RBI double to center field.
Starting pitchers Jerry Keel (CSUN) and Joe Pistorese (WSU) were both able to work out of trouble in the middle innings and combined to strand five runners on base between the fourth and sixth frames.
Washington State scored the decisive run, however, in the bottom of the seventh. With one out and a runner on second, Trace Tam Sing singled to left field to score Collin Slaybaugh.
The Matadors got the tying run on base in the ninth with one out but could not keep the momentum going.
Keel (1-1) pitched 7.2 innings and scattered nine hits while recording five strikeouts, four of which were looking. Sean Hartnett (1-0) did not allow a base runner in 0.2 innings and was credited with the win while J.D. Leckenby (3) picked up the save.
Sophomore catcher Alexis Mercado reached base in all three trips to the plate for CSUN after hitting a double and single and drawing a walk.
The Matadors and Cougars will continue their four-game series on Friday, March 1 with a 6 p.m. game at Bailey-Brayton Field. The teams will also square off on Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, March 3 at 12 p.m.