The Matadors’ start in the 2011 season earned mixed results.
The Cal State Northridge baseball team split a four-game weekend series with Seattle University that included a double-header Saturday at Matador Field.
Despite two superb performances by catcher Steven Keller and third baseman Tommy Simis, the Matadors were not able to come back from a 4-3 deficit to capture the first series of the season.
Keller went 3-for-4 and Simis recorded two doubles with a run batted in, but it was not enough to salvage the game. Pitcher Ryan Juarez (0-1) was the pitcher of record after replacing starter Paul Tremlin in the fourth inning. Juarez gave up two runs and three hits in the loss.
With runs in the first four innings, the Matadors were able to bounce back from a humiliating loss to Seattle University in a rain-filled second game to win 10-3.
The Matadors (2-2, 0-0 Big West) recorded five runs in the first inning and never looked back.
After a Friday, 2-0, clean sheet of Seattle University, CSUN got a taste of its own medicine.
The Matadors were blanked in devastating manner, 9-0, in the first game of Saturday’s double-header.
The Redhawks (2-2) jumped on Northridge in a busy fifth inning where they scored seven runs on two costly errors and two walks from the CSUN pitching staff.
Matador pitcher Vincent Roberts hit Redhawk Bryndon Ecklund and loaded the bases on a fielding error and was replaced by Shawn Wilyman.
Then came the big bang.
Redhawk first baseman Josh Kalalau hit a grand slam to left center field, the first batter faced by Wilyman.
More trouble came Northridge’s way after two quick outs when Wilyman walked a batter and gave up a single to Jace Sloan. The next batter, shortstop Nick Latta, crushed a three-run shot to left field, making the game 7-0.
Outfielder Alex Muren and designated hitter Adam Barry were the only Matadors who were able to reach base. Starter Roberts (0-1) pitched four innings for the loss, giving up two hits, two earned runs and seven strikeouts.
For the Redhawks, Kalalau finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Two other Seattle players hit two hits each.
Despite the tough pitching duel, the Matadors were able to take opening day for the second straight season, 2-0, in a game where the starters pitched well into the seventh inning.
CSUN starter Justen Gorski was in the middle of a pitching duel with Seattle starter Max Whieldon, and runs proved to be the difference in the tight game.
The Northridge pitcher gave up no runs, three hits and recorded eight strikeouts in seven innings of work to shut out the Redhawks for the Matadors’ fifth straight victory over Seattle dating back to last season.
Gorski said it was very stressful to pitch on opening day, but was glad to get the victory.
With the windy weather and opening day jitters, head coach Matt Curtis was aware of the type of game that transpired.
“It was going to be a low scoring game. The wind shifted in and you’ve got a couple of veteran pitchers that throw strikes and so it was going to be a game that was going to be won playing clean defense,” Curtis said. “That’s to be expected on the opening day.”