CSUN baseball’s thrilling walk-off home run keeps them alive in the Big West

Freshman Harrison Hart overlooks his team from the sidelines. Photo credit: Jesse Espinoza/ The Sundial

Matador’s third baseman Nolan Bumstead hit a walk off three run homer giving them the 10-8 victory over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.

Down two runs going into the ninth inning, the Matadors scored four runs completing the comeback and winning a weekend series against UCSB for the first time since 2011.

The Matadors put themselves in a small hole after one run scored in each of the first three innings, but a couple of double plays induced by Matador starting pitcher Andrew Weston kept them the game early on with a 3-0 deficit.

“[Weston] did a good job of throwing strikes,” said Coach Greg Moore, “I do not think he got anybody out by throwing them off the plate…he just got to be able to change both sides of the plate.”

After being held hitless the first three innings by UCSB starting pitcher Chris Clemens, the Matador offense came alive scoring three runs in the fourth behind a couple RBI doubles by designated hitter Albee Weiss and right fielder Nick Sablock.

In the fifth inning, Weston got himself into trouble, loading the bases with no outs. He managed to get himself out it with a pop fly ball and getting a double play.

However, Weston’s luck ran out in the sixth when bases were loaded and a single gave UCSB the lead. Then Gaucho’s center field Tommy Jew hit a three run home run to put them up 7-3.

The Matadors quickly responded with three runs, including a two run home run by Sablock, giving him three RBIs in the game.

Moore said he did question whether or not to pull Weston out of the game, but felt he has been steady and wanted to sneak one more inning of his starter.

After relief pitcher Conner O’Neil came in, a homer was hit by the Gaucho’s designated hitter.

O’Neil only allowed one more hit in his outing and kept the Matadors within two runs going into the ninth.

“I really liked [O’Neil]’s outing today,” Moore said. “I feel this is the best he has pitched in quite a while.”

Facing UCSB relief pitcher Steven Ledesma in the final inning. The Matadors started out by loading up the bases with zero outs, then left fielder Kevin Riley hit a sacrifice fly ball to get them within one run, but after Weiss popped out the Matadors were down to their final out.

Bumstead on a 1-1 pitch got a slider and knocked it out of the park.

“I faced [Ledesma] in the seventh,” said Bumstead, “he threw me a couple of sliders, so on the next at bat that is what I was looking for, a slider over the plate.”

This was the first walk off home run since 2010 for the Matadors.

The Matadors go back on the road for their next game against CSU Bakersfield, Tues. April 11 at 6 p.m.