NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
An early charge for Long Beach State was too much to overcome as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-15, 0-1) were defeated 10-5 by the Dirtbags (12-12, 1-0) in the Big West Conference opener for both teams on Friday afternoon at Matador Field. The Matadors put together a five-run fifth inning but could not rally from seven down to defeat the Dirtbags.
"There's things within the game that [the pitchers] can control," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "We need to master those, get better at them everyday."
Long Beach State got on the board early, putting up three runs in the top of the first inning. With one out, Richard Prigatano singled in a run and later in the inning Alex Bishop drove in two with a single to left field.
The Matadors were in a position to get runs back in the bottom half of the inning after Ranny Lowe singled and Ryan Raslowsky reached on a fielder's choice. Following one of Raslowsky's two steals in the game, Chester Pak walked and Nick Blaser hit a single up the middle. A strong throw home from center field, however, was able to get Raslowsky on a close play at the plate.
The Dirtbags broke the game open in the top of the fourth as Long Beach State scored four times to lead 7-0. With the bases loaded and two outs, Prigatano hit a double to right center that scored three runs and later came across on a single by Michael Hill.
Cal State Northridge began to rally in the bottom of the fifth and cut the deficit to 7-5. With one out, Dylan Alexander drew a walk and William Colantono singled through the left side of the infield. Brett Balkan then hit a bouncing ball that was misplayed by the LBSU shortstop, allowing Alexander to score.
Lowe then singled to load the bases and Raslowsky picked up a hit that scored Colantono. Pak followed with an RBI on a fielder's choice and stole second before scoring on a two-run single by Blaser.
"This group stays after it. There's a feeling in that dugout that we can score in any inning," said Moore. "I think the takeaway is that we need to be able to string three, four, or five of those innings into a game."
Long Beach State scored a run in the seventh and two in the eighth to finish the scoring and put the final line at 10-5.
Lowe, Alexander and Blaser each had two hits in the game while Blaser also added two RBIs for the Matadors. Prigatano went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs scored for the Dirtbags.
Jerry Keel (0-5) was given the loss after allowing three runs in 3.1 innings and Andrew Rohrbach (4-1) earned credit for the win for LBSU.
The Matadors and Dirtbags will continue their series on Saturday, March 29, with a 1 p.m. game at Matador Field. Prior to the game Cal State Northridge will retire the jersey of former head coach Bob Hiegert, who led the team to two NCAA Division II National Championships (1970, 1984).