CSUN Captures Fifth Straight Win, Tops CSU Bakersfield 8-5

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. –

Cal State Northridge won its fifth consecutive game as the Matadors (18-15) erased an early deficit to top the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (21-13) 8-5 at Hardt Field on Wednesday night. After trailing 2-0, Northridge rattled off eight straight runs against CSUB and the pitching staff did not concede a hit between the third and ninth innings to help the team to victory.

Michael Coates got the start on the mound for Northridge on a planned staff day and pitched 1.2 innings. He allowed a pair of Roadrunners to score in the second after a bases-loaded walk by Jordie Hein and a sacrifice fly by Oscar Sanay.

Anthony Cortez entered the game with two outs in the second and runners on the corners and got cleanup hitter Cael Brockmeyer to ground out to shortstop Kyle Attl to end the inning.

The Matadors scored a run in the top of the fourth to bring the game to 2-1 against CSU Bakersfield starting pitcher Chuck Buchanan, who tossed a career-high nine strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work. After Chester Pak singled to right center to move Joshua Goossen-Brown to third, a run scored on a wild pitch.

The pitching duo of Cortez and Harley Holt kept the Roadrunners to three base runners between the third and seventh innings on a hit by pitch and a pair of walks. Northridge's offense rewarded the performance with two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead for good at 3-2.

"Their starter was going good and he wasn't giving up many hits and I felt like our staff knew that we had to go out and match that keep pounding the zone," said Holt.

Pak was hit by a pitch to open the inning before Anthony Lombardo came in as a pinch hitter with no outs. With Lombardo batting, Pak moved up to second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch. Lombardo then laced a 3-2 pitch down the right field line for an RBI double that tied the game.

"I knew I was going to get a lot of fastballs," said Lombardo. "I just wanted to get my hand on top of it and hit something hard and get the run in."

Following a sacrifice bunt by Nicolas Osuna that moved Lombardo to third with one out William Colantono, another pinch hitter, grounded out to the shortstop while bringing in Lombardo to score.

The Matadors added four more runs in the top of the eighth to break the game open and take a 7-2 lead. With the bases loaded and one out, Lombardo drove in Nathan Ring from third with a single to left field.

Osuna then attempted a squeeze bunt but a run was put out at the plate on the force. However, Brockmeyer's attempted throw to first for a double play sailed into right field and allowed a pair of CSUN runners to score. Colantono followed with an RBI single to right center to put a cap on the inning for Northridge.

A final insurance run came across in the top of the ninth for the Matadors after Attl doubled to right center and Ring singled to second base. Goossen-Brown hit into a double play but Attl scored easily to give CSUN an 8-2 cushion.

The final score was made closer by three runs for CSU Bakersfield in the bottom of the ninth. After recording their first hit since the second inning with a one-out single, Sanay tripled home two runs and later scored on a wild pitch.

Holt (3-2) picked up the win for Northridge after 2.1 hitless innings in relief with one strikeout. Cortez also went 2.1 innings without a hit and DJ Milam allowed just one hit in 2.0 innings of work. Chance Gusbeth (0-1) took the loss for CSU Bakersfield after allowing four runs, including two unearned, in one inning on the mound.

"That seven innings of no-hit baseball, not that we need no-hit baseball, but those guys coming out of the bullpen and doing the job and the defense playing well behind them won us the game," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis.

Lombardo finished the game 2-for-2 with a double and single, two RBIs and two runs scored for the Matadors. Colantono also drove in two runs while Pak matched Lombardo's number with two runs scored.

"All three of those guys have been doing a good job: Anthony Lombardo, Will Colantono and Michael Najera," added Curtis. "Those guys have been waiting their turn and have been working hard in practice and it's good to seem them take at-bats that are under control when men are in scoring position."

The Matadors return to Big West Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at No. 23 UC Irvine. First pitch on Friday, April 12 is set for 6:30 p.m. and the teams will play 1 p.m. games on both Saturday and Sunday at Anteater Ballpark.

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