FRESNO, Calif. –
A six-run first inning spelled the difference as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (13-19) were defeated 8-2 by the Fresno State Bulldogs (18-15) on Tuesday night at Beiden Field. The Bulldogs scored five unearned runs after an early error and the Matadors were unable to overcome the deficit.
"To get better, you have to chunk up the game into the First Third, Second Third and Third Third," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "We weren't very good in the First Third but we actually played good baseball in the Second and Third. You take different lessons from different parts of the game and different times of the game."
In the bottom of the first, Brody Russell reached on an error when trying to put down a sacrifice bunt. Jordan Luplow singled home a run in the following at-bat and Russell later scored on a single by Taylor Ward. Manny Argomaniz' sacrifice fly scored a run with what would've been the final out of the inning, and Austin Guibor's three-run triple with two outs put the Bulldogs ahead 6-0.
Not to be put away early, the Matadors responded with two runs of their own in the top of the second. Cal State Northridge opened the inning with consecutive singles from Nick Blaser, Nicolas Osuna and Dylan Alexander to load the bases. Michael Livingston then brought in a run with a ground ball back to the pitcher and Brett Balkan picked up an RBI with a groundout to the second baseman.
Fresno State increased its lead to 7-2 in the home half of the second inning after Russell singled, Luplow was hit by a pitch and the pair advanced on a sacrifice bunt. Chris Mariscal then grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed the Matadors to get an out on the bases but a run scored as well.
The Bulldogs put a cap on the scoring with a run in the bottom of the third when designated hitter Trent Woodward singled home Argomaniz from second with one out.
The Matadors were able to get a runner in scoring position with two outs in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings but each time were held without a run by the Fresno State bullpen.
Ranny Lowe and Osuna each had two hits for the Matadors while Balkan and Livingston each drew walks in addition to recording RBIs. Five different Matadors combined to collect at least one hit in the game.
"This comes as a result of work," added Moore. "Rosenberg and Coates continue to get after it every single day. They're not satisfied with where they are and they're not satisfied with getting just a little bit better. They're going to come out tomorrow and work that much harder."
Calvin Copping (1-4) took the loss for the Matadors while Dillon Houser (2-0) was effective in relief for the Bulldogs to earn the victory.
The Matadors will remain on the road for their next contest, travelling to take on UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark on Friday, April 11. The 6:30 p.m. game will be televised live by ESPN3 and will also be available through the WatchESPN app.