Matadors crowned walk-off kings against Bakersfield

Brandon Bohning goes for the swing on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Northridge, Calif.

Brandon Lopez, Reporter

CSUN baseball (23-19, 12-10 Big West Conference) continued their winning ways after their three-game 2-1 series win against CSU Bakersfield (16-24, 9-9) at Matador Field.

The Matadors secured their third straight conference series win. In the past few weeks, they have beaten UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and now CSU Bakersfield.

The Matadors were able to pull off two of those wins from walk-offs in what was a dramatic series.

“You try to live pitch-to-pitch, and I know that’s a cliche, [but] it was exciting to have two walk-offs,” CSUN coach Dave Serrano said. “As you know we’ve had many of those against us earlier in the year. It was exciting for our guys to be able to live out two of them on our own field.”

Game one was a nail-biter as both the Matadors and Roadrunners matched each other’s hits with 10 apiece.

The Roadrunners managed to take the lead at the top of the sixth inning after a home run put them ahead 4-2.

In a comeback effort, the Matadors clawed back into the game after posting one run in the eighth inning. This set up CSUN outfielder Bart West to hit a walk-off single that drove home two runs to steal the 5-4 win.

“I remember hitting it on the ground with the bases loaded and one out. I had a heart attack right off the bat, I thought I just ended the game,” West said. “Fortunately, it was just the right spot, and [the team] was able to win with Kai Moody’s good baserunning.”

Game two was another comeback effort. The Matadors mounted a late-game resurgence but fell short to the Roadrunners’ overwhelming 13 hits in an 8-7 loss.

Game three came down to the wire. As the series was tied, CSUN jumped to an early two-run lead, but the Roadrunners managed to tie it in the top of the ninth inning with a solo home run.

With the series on the line, CSUN infielder Mason Le stepped up to the plate and homered the ball into left field to clinch the series.

Le was very humble when asked about his series-winning walk-off home run.

“To be honest with you, I wasn’t trying to hit the walk-off. I was trying to put the ball in play and hit it hard somewhere to get on base for my team,” Le said. “It just happened to go over the fence, so that was pretty cool.”

There was plenty to celebrate after this series win. Soon after, Serrano was able to achieve his 500th career win as a coach.

In a midweek win against San Diego State after the Bakersfield series, the Matadors helped Serrano achieve this feat. Serrano was quick to attribute his success to the Matadors’ recent play.

“There has been a lot of adversity, but I like the direction that this program is going,” Serrano said. “When it’s starting to win championships in the next few years, hopefully, I could sit back and feel like I was a small part of building the foundation of a winning program.”