FORT WORTH, Texas –
Cal State Northridge got the tying run on base in the top of the ninth but were kept off of the scoreboard as the Matadors (15-28) were defeated 3-0 by the No. 23 TCU Horned Frogs (30-13) on Sunday afternoon at Lupton Stadium. Despite threatening to tie the game in the late innings, the Matadors were kept scoreless for the second consecutive game against TCU.
In the top of the ninth CSUN was a swing away from tying the game or taking the lead against closer Riley Ferrell. AB Blanchet reached on an infield single and Nick Blaser was safe on an error by Ferrell with one out. Alexis Mercado then came in as a pinch hitter with a chance to level the score and worked a walk to load the bases. With two outs, however, Ferrell was able to buckle down and get a strikeout to end the game.
"The at-bat of the inning was Mercado anticipating it was his time in the game and got himself ready," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "He went in and saw pitches very well."
TCU was able to get out to an early lead in the game after scoring a run in the bottom of the first without getting a hit against CSUN starter John Salas. With one out, TCU loaded the bases on a walk, error and hit by pitch before a walk by Garrett Crain forced in the first run of the day.
In the bottom of the third, the Horned Frogs took a 2-0 lead after Derek Odell singled to lead things off. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, Odell scored on an RBI single by Kevin Cron.
The final run of the game score in the bottom of the fourth when Dylan Delso hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Dylan Fitzgerald from third.
Nico Garbella came through with the first hit of his CSUN career in the top of the sixth when he lined a single that got past the second baseman and into center field. He added a two-out triple to right center in the top of the eighth to finish the game 2-for-3.
"Nico is getting better and better in batting practice," added Moore. "That's why he got the start today and it paid off for him. He's been taking better at-bats lately and today he got the results."
Brett Balkan also went 2-for-3 for the Matadors while Blaser and Blanchet added the other CSUN hits.
Salas (4-4) was charged with the loss after allowing an unearned run in 1.0 inning of work. Alexander (5-3) earned the win for TCU with five strikeouts in 7.0 innings and Ferrell collected a four-out save for his 10th of the year.
The Matadors will finish their road swing with a Tuesday night game at Bakersfield on April 29th. First pitch from Hardt Field is scheduled for 6 p.m.