FORT WORTH, Texas –
A squeeze bunt in the bottom of the ninth scored the game's only run as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (15-27) were defeated 1-0 by the No. 23 TCU Horned Frogs (29-13) on Saturday afternoon at Lupton Stadium. The teams put on a stellar pitching display the entire day before TCU was able to connect productive at-bats together to win the game.
"I want the team to separate the emotion of the tough loss and understand that there is something to take away here that we need to learn from," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "We'll be back in another close game and we'll get that one right."
Cal State Northridge starting pitcher Jerry Keel faced an early test after the first two batters he faced reached on singles in the bottom of the first. After getting a fly out to right field, he induced a ground ball that resulted in a double play thanks to Brett Balkan's acrobatic leap over the runner at second and strong throw to first.
The Matadors had a tough time figuring out TCU starter Preston Morrison, who retired the first 10 batters he faced. With one out in the top of the fourth, Ryan Raslowsky singled to left field to break up the no-hit bid.
Two Horned Frogs reached base with two outs in the fifth after a single and an error but Keel recovered to strike out Boomer White to end the inning. Immediately after, the Matadors put together their best opportunity to score in the contest.
In the top of the sixth, Nicolas Osuna started a rally with a one-out single to right field. He moved up to second on a ground out before Ranny Lowe was hit by a pitch and Raslowsky walked. With the bases loaded, Morrison was able to get a pop fly in the infield to escape any harm and keep the game scoreless.
Keaton Jones tried to bunt his way aboard in the bottom of the seventh but his popup was snagged in foul territory on a spectacular diving play by William Colantono. After allowing a two-out single in the fifth, Keel did not permit another runner to reach base in the game.
The game was decided, however, in the bottom of the ninth after Kevin Cron started things off for TCU with a walk. He was lifted for pinch runner Jeremie Fagnan, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A one-out single put runners at the corners before Jones put down a squeeze bunt to win the game for the Horned Frogs.
Keel went 8.0 scoreless innings on the mound with four strikeouts and four hits allowed. He has not allowed an earned run to score in his last 17.0 innings.
"Jerry is getting aggressive. He's throwing the baseball like he should be every time out," added Moore. "He's struggled against his own demons and today, I think, was a good example of Jerry throwing the baseball like he can."
Morrison (6-3) went the distance to record the shutout victory for TCU while Shay Maltese (2-2) was charged with the loss for CSUN. Raslowsky led the Matadors at the plate with a pair of singles and a walk, reaching base three times.
The Matadors and Horned Frogs will finish their three-game series on Sunday, April 27th. First pitch from Lupton Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT (11 a.m. PT).