The Matadors committed a total of seven errors on the day. While it did not hurt the team’s chances in the first game, their errors caught up to them in the second game and ended up costing them a late inning lead, ultimately leading to a loss against Towson Tigers.
“It’s not important to tie the series tomorrow,” Matadors head coach Greg Moore said. “We just need to play better.”
Northridge junior Samuel Myers started game one and pitched five innings of one-run ball game. He won his first game of the season after allowing only four hits.
With a 2-1 lead, CSUN’s short stop Fred Smith hit a two-out RBI single and catcher Albee Weiss scored a runner on an infield single that hit Towson’s Kevin Ross glove. Myers left the game leading 4-1 in the fifth inning.
The Matadors added three more insurance runs in the sixth inning to make it a 7-1 game.
“They took good at-bats there,” Moore said. “We finally got a big inning going. It was nice to see it and it was a sign of things to come.”
Towson’s Trey Martinez and A.J. Gallo hit towering home runs to left and right field to cut CSUN’s deficit to two by the eighth inning.
The Matadors offense answered right back with a single from Ryan McCarty to start the inning.
After a wild pitch, the runners moved 90 feet which left first base open.
Tigers’ head coach Mike Gottlieb was ejected after arguing a check swing by Weiss that was called a ball.
The first base umpire kicked him out the game and on the next pitch, Weiss hit his first home run of the season.
“My approach was going to be the same whether there was nobody on or if the bases were loaded,” Weiss said. “I stayed short and compact.”
Weiss finished the game with five runs batted in on three hits.
Left fielder Kevin Riley went 3-4 on the day with two runs batted in.
The Matadors momentum continued heading into the second game after Weiss doubled past the third baseman to score the first run. Smith added another run to lead the Tigers 2-0 after the first.
However, that would be the only runs they would score in the game.
Matadors starter Tei Vanderford faced Tigers’ starting pitcher Dean Stramara in game two.
Vanderford’s consecutive scoreless innings to begin the season came to an end in the sixth when the Tigers scored on a wild pitch.
He got in trouble again in the top of the eighth when a throwing error by Nolan Bumstead got two runners on base with no outs. After a brief meeting on the mound, Matadors head coach Greg Moore decided to stick with Vanderford.
He struck out the next batter and got the next player out on a fly ball. With one out left in the inning, Moore decided it was time to bring in a reliever.
“He talked his way back into the game, but not the second time,” Moore said. “We had a guy in the pen that’s pretty good against righties. Tei did a great job, he moved the ball to both sides and spun a couple of different breaking balls at them. I like what he did out there.”
Towson right-hander Kyle Nicol came into the game, but walked the first batter he faced and allowed a bases-clearing double to Tigers first baseman Colin Gimblet. The Tigers finished the inning with a 4-2 lead and eventually beat the Matadors, 7-2.
“It’s pretty frustrating, but it’s a good learning moment for this whole team and it is early in the year so it’s not going to kill us,” Vanderford said. “We learn from this and move on and we get better from it and don’t let this drag us down. We need to come in here and win a ballgame tomorrow.”
Vanderford said he did not have his best stuff and he credited his catcher, Weiss for helping him throughout the game.
“Tei made pitches all day long,” Weiss said. “He controlled them in the entire game. We need to do a better job as an offense in picking him up. From the first pitch of the first game, to the last pitch of the second game.”
Moore emphasized that fatigue was not a factor. Weiss agreed with Moore and said that the team’s offense could not find an answer to the Tigers’ pitching staff.
“We came out every day in the fall, every day in the spring,” Weiss said. “We play doubleheaders like this all the time, there was no fatigue. I think we just got away from our approach at the plate. Some of us got a little big, including myself.”
Vanderford pitched 7.2 innings and is now 1-1 with a .66 ERA following the loss. Despite him wanting to finish the eighth inning, he says he knows his coach made the right decision to take him out the game.
“I’m always going to want to keep pitching and not come out of the game,” Vanderford said. “But coach Moore makes great decisions all the time. We trust in him and he’s got the final say.”
The Matadors host Towson for the last game of the four-game series at 12 p.m. on Sunday.