The Matadors’ struggles continue and are now riding their worst stretch of the season after losing two in a row to Cal State Bakersfield over the weekend.
“Times are hard right now, but I think we have to understand that this is still within our control. Most of the times when we got hit it was our honestly own doing, we fell behind in the counts, and we got hit,” senior pitcher Ryan Juarez said.
The Cal State Northridge baseball team dropped to under .500 for the first time this season at 15-16 and have lost eight of the last 10 games since taking a three-game series from Sacramento State in mid-March.
In facing some of the best pitching staffs lately, Northridge has been inconsistent at both offense and defense. The Matadors scored four runs combined in the three games against LMU and were blanked out by San Diego State 10-0 in the last couple weeks.
The bats have returned to some extent, but the mound has not been very good to CSUN as of late.
Having lost two games straight by run differential of 10 in each, the Northridge pitching staff’s earned run average ballooned to a season-high 5.58, which is second to last in the Big West Conference.
In his first start of the season, CSUN’s Juarez was involved in a pitching duel with Bakersfield’s Jonathan Montoya, giving up only five runs but three earned in 5.1 innings of work.
CSUB struck first with three runs in the third inning after breaking a scoreless tie on a fielding error by Northridge second baseman TS Reed, his seventh of the season.
Montoya, who had four complete games coming in, held the Matadors to no runs until the fifth inning when CSUN’s Marty Bowen hit an RBI single to score Justin De Marco from second base to make the game 5-1 in favor of CSUB.
The game was still within reach for CSUN in the seventh with the score 5-3. Any chance of a comeback was squashed when Bakersfield exploded for eight unanswered runs off reliever Jacob Petersen.
CSUN was held hitless the rest of the way en route to a 13-3 loss.
Bowen finished with four singles to lead Northridge and CSUB’s Andrew Letourneau recorded three runs batted in on three hits in four at-bats to lead all hitters.
Bakersfield broke through the gates from the get-go to tack five runs on CSUN starter Justen Gorski (3-4) in Friday’s showdown at Matador Field and would score 10 more times to rout the Matadors 15-5
The outcome was similar to Saturday’s, but no pitching duel was underway as the Roadrunners (22-7) featured a complete game from starter Mike McCarthy, who gave up four earned runs on seven hits.
“Truth be told, I think the game was lost in the first inning, but at least offensively we answered in the second inning, we put a couple runs on the board and got it back within four,” CSUN coach Matt Curtis said. “We just weren’t competitive on the mound and didn’t give us a chance to win.”
The closest Northridge would get was within four runs in the second as second baseman Tommy Simis crushed the ball for his second home run of the season over the left field wall to make the game 6-2.
“We were down six to nothing and he was just trying to get a strike across, so my mentality was just to be aggressive get on a fastball and try and drive it somewhere and I got lucky, hit it up into the wind and hit it out,” Simis said.