NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Chester Pak turned in his second consecutive three-hit day and Calvin Copping threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief, but the Cal State Northridge Matadors (18-34, 6-14 Big West) fell 6-3 to the No. 6 Cal Poly (44-10, 18-5 Big West) on Saturday afternoon at Matador Field. Ranny Lowe drove in two runs to match a season high, as CSUN will look to Sunday in order to salvage a game from the series.
"Consistency is the key," said CSUN Head Coach Greg Moore. "It has to be start-to-finish for three-thirds of the game, not just two-thirds. We played a decent two-thirds but we need to get better in the third."
The Mustangs scored in the first inning for the second straight day after Mark Mathias opened the game with a single and scored on a triple by Nick Torres. Cal Poly extended its lead to 2-0 in the top of the second on a solo home run by Jimmy Allen to left field.
The Matadors halved the deficit in the bottom of the third thanks in part to a leadoff double by Pak. William Colantono followed with a single to move Pak to third before Lowe brought in the run on a ground ball that resulted in a throwing error on shortstop Peter Van Gansen.
A run in the fifth and two more in the sixth helped Cal Poly increase its lead to four runs at 5-1. With the bases loaded in the fifth, Brian Mundell drew a walk to force in John Schuknecht from third and Mathias hit a two-run double in the top of the fifth with two outs.
The Mustangs added their final run in the top of the seventh on a squeeze bunt from Van Gansen that scored Allen from third.
CSUN began to rally in the bottom of the seventh, scoring a run to cut the score to 6-2. Michael Livingston pinch hit and drew a walk before advancing to third on another double by Pak. Lowe then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Livingston easily.
The final run of the game came around for the Matadors in the bottom of the ninth after Brett Balkan doubled down the left field line and scored on a single by Pak.
Jerry Keel was hit with the loss for the Matadors after allowing three runs in 5.0 innings of work while Casey Bloomquist picked up the win for Cal Poly with two earned runs and seven strikeouts in 7.0 innings.
In addition to the successes at the plate for Pak and Lowe, Balkan and Nico Garbella each collected a pair of hits in three at-bats. The Matadors and Mustangs will finish their series on Sunday, May 18, when Jordan Johnson (CSUN) takes on Justin Calomeni (Cal Poly) in the final home game of the season for the Matadors.
"Jordan has been pretty consistent in his last two outings," added Moore. "He needs to stay with his plan and execute like he did last week [at UC Santa Barbara]. Jordan is improving every week."
Prior to the finale, the Matadors will honor the six senior members of the team: Lowe, Balkan, Michael Coates, Brycen Rutherford, Shay Maltese and John Salas. First pitch at Matador Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.