Matadors unable to deliver clutch hit

    csun pitcher prepares to throw the ball
    CSUN’s senior right handed pitcher, Drake Atlee, pitches during the first few innings on Sunday, March 19, at the Matador Field. Photo credit: Lauren Valencia

    Drake Atlee and the Matadors’ bullpen held Saint Mary’s to just two runs, but the offense was not able to capitalize with runners in scoring position.

    Saint Mary’s got on the board in the first inning. Joey Fiske hit a leadoff single and stole second base. He advanced to third, and scored on a Zach Kirtley RBI groundout.

    Starting pitcher Atlee pitched five innings and allowed two earned

    “The guys made huge plays behind me,” Atlee said. “Once you get that comfort level that the guys are going to make plays behind you, it’s easier to trust your stuff and trust your defense and settle in.”

    The defense turned two double plays in the second and fifth inning to back up Atlee’s outing. He was pulled out after five innings.

    got the Matadors on the board with an RBI groundout.

    That was the only run CSUN could get out of Saint Mary’s starter, Conner Loeprich.

    Sablock said it was important to get a run on the board and for them to start some momentum.

    “In my first at bat, [Loeprich] threw a slider and got me out,” Sablock said. “I figured he’d go back to that. He ends up hanging it and I put a good swing on it and [Riley] Conlan was fast enough to score.”

    Conlan was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning and later stole second to get into scoring position. After that, CSUN ended up going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

    Despite the struggling offense, the Matadors got key outs from the outfielders and four shutout innings from the bullpen.

    “We made two good throws today,” said head coach Greg Moore, referencing throws from outfielders Elias Orona and Alvaro Rubalcava.

    In the fourth inning, Saint Mary’s Kevin Miliam doubled to score their second run of the game. Edward Haus tried to score from first, but he was called out at home plate after a relay throw from second base was right on the dot.

    Orona came into the game in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement in center field for Justin Toerner. With a runner on first, Jackson Thoreson hit a deep fly ball for an out, but Orona threw out the runner trying to advance to second base.

    Ray Diaz, Joey Deceglie, and Toerner pitched four shutout innings from the bullpen. Saint Mary’s Loeprich pitched seven innings and only allowed four hits.

    Jonny York ended up pitching the final-two innings and recorded his first save of the season.

    The Matadors had the tying run in scoring position in the last five innings of the game, but were unable to score.

    In the ninth, CSUN had runners on first and second with one out, but could not get a clutch hit to score.

    The Matadors (11-10) finished their home stand with a three-game losing streak and will head on an eight-game road trip. They face Loyola Marymount on Tuesday at 6 p.m.