NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
A bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth provided the only run in the game as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-14) picked up a 1-0 shutout over the Stony Brook Seawolves (6-9) on Wednesday afternoon at Matador Field. The Matadors had a perfect game going into the seventh and Nicolas Osuna drew a walk with two outs in the ninth to give the home side the victory.
"It was just one of those games," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "The best thing we can do [for the next game] is go take a shower, get after our homework, get up tomorrow and go to class."
Cal State Northridge starting pitcher Jerry Keel was electric in a controlled start. With no weekend series upcoming for the Matadors, Keel moved up his start to Wednesday and retired all 13 batters he faced. The junior needed just 38 pitches to get through 4.1 innings and also recorded two strikeouts.
For the Seawolves, starting pitcher Tim Knesnik pitched 5.0 scoreless innings and struck out two while allowing just two hits. Ryan Raslowsky had the first hit in the game for CSUN, hitting a flare that landed at the feet of the center fielder with two outs in the bottom of the third.
The Matadors had another runner on base after AB Blanchet singled with one out in the fifth inning but were unable to advance him.
The pitching performance did not stop once Keel left the game for CSUN. Brycen Rutherford, another weekend starter, set down all five batters he faced in 1.2 innings on 18 pitches to keep the perfect game through six.
Potential history was broken up in the top of the seventh, however, when Robert Chavarria cleanly singled up the middle with one out. Stony Brook was able to get two runners aboard in the inning before Jordan Johnson retired the final two batters to escape the threat.
The Matadors had their first big opportunity to score in the bottom of the seventh, getting runners to first and second on a Dylan Alexander single and a walk for Blanchet. The runners could not advance though as a routine double play ended the inning.
Stony Brook nearly stole the game in the top of the ninth but more tough pitching from the Matadors kept the game scoreless. With runners on first and third and one out, Shay Maltese entered the game in relief and struck out both batters he faced to strand both runners.
"My approach is just the same as it has always been," said Maltese. "I really don't look at what runners are on. I always go up and take my breath pre-pitch, get the pitch and then make the pitch."
With one out in the bottom of the ninth Nick Blaser hit a single to left field and advanced to second on a walk by Michael Livingston. After a ground out moved the runners to second and third, Blanchet drew his third walk of the game to load the bases.
Osuna then stepped up to the plate and took four straight balls to force in the run and give the Matadors the 1-0 walkoff victory.
"It was just one of those games where you just need to fight through it," said Osuna, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh. "The team that executes at the end is going to win it."
Cal State Northridge pitchers allowed just three hits in the shutout with Maltese (2-0) earning the win. Chad Lee (0-2) pitched the ninth inning for the Seawolves and was charged with the loss.
Blanchet reached base all four times he went up to bat, getting a single and three walks on the day.
The Matadors will have the weekend off before hosting Washington State on Monday, March 24th. First pitch from Matador Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.