Looking to gain ground on Big West division leader Cal State Fullerton, the Matadors (30-20, 14-6 Big West) baseball team dropped their second consecutive game to UC Santa Barbara (27-20, 12-8) on Saturday afternoon.
Failing to capitalize with runners in scoring position late in the game, CSUN lost 6-2 to the Gauchos.
“We’ve just got to get back to playing good fundamentally sound baseball, playing good defense,” said head coach Matt Curtis. “You know pitching and defense has really been our trademark, and we gotta do a better job at the plate.”
After stopping the game in the first inning in order to repair the infield dirt, the Matadors worked around a two-out double by the Gauchos, but were unable to stop UCSB from scoring for long.
Two throwing errors by freshman starting pitcher Calvin Copping gave UCSB two of its runs, including the games first in the third inning.
Singling to open the inning, UCSB had runners on first and second with no outs after a fielding error by freshman third baseman Nicolas Osuna. A throwing error by Copping on a sacrifice bunt gave the Gauchos a 1-0 lead.
Tacking on two runs in the fifth on a solo home run and another throwing error by Copping, the Matadors trailed UCSB 3-0.
Copping went six innings, gave up three runs, six hits, walked three and struck out five in his outing before being pulled in the seventh.
“(Copping) was doing a good job. We really let him down defensively and he made some of his own mistakes defensively,” Curtis said. “(I) felt like they were starting to get good looks at him (and I) felt like it was time to throw a different look at them. Harley Holt’s been really good for us out of the pen all year.”
Holt’s outing was short-lived though, as he gave up two runs without recording an out. Hitting a batter, a wild pitch and a walk, and Holt was pulled from the game after being looked at by the trainer.
“He’s been a little tender and just didn’t look right and that’s why we went out there with the trainer.”
Back-to-back hits by the Gauchos extended their lead 6-0 after the seventh inning.
“(UCSB) just saw the ball and hit the ball pretty well and they found holes today,” said senior left fielder Cal Vogelsang, who went 3 for 4 in the game.
Northridge’s offense came to life in the bottom of the seventh, getting the first two runners on with walks, Osuna doubled in CSUN’s first run of the day.
“I was just looking for a fastball that at-bat, I was just sitting on it and he left one right there and I hit it into the gap,” Osuna said.
An infield single by senior shortstop Kyle Attl with one out, plated the Matadors second run, but two harmless groundouts would kill the rally.
“I don’t think we mounted a serious threat today until maybe the seventh inning, so we’ve got to put some better at-bats together,” Curtis said.
Loading the bases with no outs in the eighth inning, the Matadors were unable to score anyone, and went down in order to end the game in the ninth.
“Yesterday was a tough loss and this is the first time in a long tme that we haven’t immediately bounced back from adversity,” Curtis said.