CSUN’s baseball team comes out superior in series against Creighton University


Renee Rothe

Outfielder Emanuel Dean, 5, high-fives his teammates as they head to the dugout on Feb. 26, 2023, in Northridge, Calif. The Matadors defeated the Creighton Bluejays 4-3 at home on Sunday, March 5, to take the series 2-1.

Charlie Gonzalez, Sports Writer

CSUN’s baseball team entered the third and final game of their series against the Creighton University Bluejays tied 1-1. After losing game one and surging in the eighth inning to win game two, the Matadors clinched the series with a 4-3 win on Sunday, improving to 7-2 in the season.

Game three was the lowest scoring in the series, due to rapid play. The 11:30 a.m. match was played on a time crunch with a possibility of ending early, as Creighton’s flight back to Omaha, Nebraska was scheduled for 5 p.m. CSUN scored first during an eventful second inning when third baseman Mason Le hit a sacrifice bunt, bringing home shortstop Ali Camarillo. From that first run, the Matadors never trailed at any point of the game.

The Matadors’ winning pitcher, Kenji Pallares, hurled for seven innings. Although he never allowed Creighton to take a lead, he generated only two strikeouts, while surrendering six hits and two walks. Twenty five at-bats ended in a walk, groundout or flyout.

A surge in momentum occurred in the bottom of the fourth for the Matadors when Camarillo hit a two-run homer into left field. During the next at-bat, Creighton’s starting pitcher, Anthony Watts, who was credited with the loss, began to slip, committing a hit-by-pitch against left fielder Kevin Fitzer. Two innings later, Watts was pulled after giving up a one-out double to first baseman Joey Kramer.

The Bluejays’ relief pitcher, Dominic Cancellieri, didn’t slow Camarillo down. Arguably CSUN’s top offensive contributor, Camarillo hit an RBI single to give CSUN a 4-1 lead. Upon seeing his stat line — two runs, two hits and three RBIs — Camarillo had a humble reaction.

“I think it’s pretty good, but more impressive was our pitching throughout the weekend,” he said. “I think they kept us in games. Even though Creighton jabbed at us multiple times, we were able to bounce back because of our pitchers.”

Camarillo went two for three on the day, which raised his season batting average from .250 to .316.

Joshua Romero closed in the ninth, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts and earning a save. Coach Eddie Cornejo was proud of how his team clinched the series victory.

“Firstly, the main takeaway is that Kenji Pallares pitched very well,” he said. “We’re down an arm on the weekend, and being able to have him fill a role is huge for us.”

The Matadors will now prepare for a three-game road series against the Pacific Tigers from March 10-12.