The rain was not enough to keep the Matadors from pouring in run after run and defeating Valparaiso 13-4 in the continuation of Friday’s game that was suspended due to high precipitation at Matador Field.
CSUN pitcher Ryan Juarez said it’s frustrating, but cited the team’s preparation as the reason for not letting the weather become a distraction.
“It is hard to deal with, you know, tarp on and tarp off, waiting for the rain and all that stuff,” Juarez said. “I think we did a great job.We had a lot of practice last week, but we’ve done a great job relaxing when it was time to relax and turn it on when it was time to turn it on.”
The Cal State Northridge baseball team’s game against the Valparaiso Crusaders was cut short before two outs were recorded Friday.
A 1-0 game at the start, Matador pitcher Ryan Juarez (1-1), who has a 3.60 ERA in five innings coming into Saturday’s game, relieved Gonzalez and got two quick outs ending the inning. Crusader Steven Scoby scored on a ground -out after Juarez’s first out, making it 2-0 for Valparaiso.
Juarez was happy to keep Valparaiso’s damage at a minimum after the game resumed.
“My whole goal today was, I was willing to let one score but not both. I knew our team has been hitting well, so I knew they were going to come out and get the runs we need,” Juarez said.
The first run batted in from CSUN catcher Steven Keller’s season came with a bang. Let’s make it two RBIs.
After two quick Valpo outs, Matador Drew Muren was hit by a pitch from Crusader starter Damon McCormick (0-1). Keller hit a two-run home run to right field and tied the game at two.
Northridge (3-2, 0-0 Big West) scored one run each in the third, fifth and sixth innings before blowing the game open in the seventh with two-out back-to-back doubles, scoring four runs in the process, which made the score 10-2.
CSUN third baseman Tommy Simis recorded two RBIs on his bases-loaded double and shortstop Matthew Telesco also tallied two RBIs on his preceding double.
Keller was pleased to see the team capitalizing on situations with runners on bases, something he said was emphasized during the week in practice after batting poorly in last weekend’s series against Seattle University.
“I know that during practice, coach (Curtis) has really worked with our down-and-through swings, which what he calls ‘hard ground ball one hoppers to the infield. Today, I really think we came through and capitalized with a two-strike at-bats and it’s key.”
Valparaiso (0-3, 0-0 Horizon) jumped on the Matadors Friday very early, leading off the first inning with a single and drawing a walk before CSUN made the first out.
Crusader Chris Manning singled to left field and Scoby, who leads Valpo with a .400 hitting average in three games, drew the walk. After a strikeout from CSUN starter Carlos Gonzalez, Valpo double stole and put runners at second and third.
Gonzalez then walked a second batter to load the bases and then threw a high ball that sailed over Keller’s head, which produced the first run of the game.
Despite the rain delays, head coach Matt Curtis knew the preparation, which included having the team prepare for nine innings regardless of a possible game suspension, had the players ready.
“Well, we talk about putting yourself in your game preparation mindset when you have some uncertain elements (like) the weather yesterday,” Curtis said. “The guys did a great job not letting the rain delays get them back on their heels because that can easily happen.”
SERIES NOTES: Friday’s suspension reshuffled the weekend schedule. The double-header scheduled for Saturday was shifted to Sunday with one game played Saturday. The last game of the series will be today at 2 p.m.