A day after clinching their first Big West Conference series victory of the season, the Matadors could not keep the momentum going as tough pitching stifled the lineup.
The bats could not break through UC Santa Barbara’s pitching as the Cal State Northridge baseball team (20-26, 3-12 Big West) dropped the series finale, 5-1, on Sunday at Matador Field.
Gaucho Matthew Vedo, a last-minute replacement for starter Jesse Meaux who was scratched due to stiffness in his right shoulder, pitched a complete game, giving up one run on four hits.
“You got to start by tipping your hat. The guy had a good front fastball, 89-91 miles per hour, he had a slider that was getting over the plate and I think he was really locating it to a certain extent, getting down and away for the most part,” CSUN coach Matt Curtis said.
Santa Barbara (20-21, 6-9 Big West) jumped on the Matadors from the get-go as CSUN starter Carlos Gonzalez (1-3) loaded the bases in a matter of minutes after getting the first out.
With UCSB’s Ben Edelstein reaching base on third baseman’s Josh Goossen-Brown’s fielding error, Gonzalez hit Sean Williams and gave up an infield single to Mark Haddow to lead the bases.
After assistant coach Tim Leary visited the mound, Gonzalez gave up an RBI single to Trevor Whyte and hit another batter to score in a run, giving the Gauchos an early 2-0 lead.
“Defensively, we let him (Gonzalez) down a little bit, but obviously he didn’t have command, hitting three batters, getting into hitting counts and struggling to get anything but a fastball over for a strike and Division I hitters are going to get on that,” Curtis said.
Northridge got a hit in the bottom of the first inning, a single from center fielder Drew Muren, but that was as much as the Matadors were going to scratch out as Vedo went on to the retire 13 straight batters.
Vedo’s dominance lasted until the sixth inning when Goossen-Brown recorded a lead off single to left field. The Matadors were able to start a rally as Ridge Carpenter reached base on a catcher’s interference and Chris Allen was walked to load the bases.
CSUN broke their scoring zero when Muren brought in a run on a sacrifice fly to put the score at 3-1.
The Matadors could not muster any more as the Gaucho pitching continued to throw zeroes.
“He was a solid pitcher. He had a good fastball and later on in the game, he started getting some balls down,” Goossen-Brown said. “He’s a tough guy to hit and I feel like our team could’ve done a better job making adjustments earlier in the game.”
Vedo struck out the side in the seventh and eighth innings and retired a Matador comeback in the ninth inning to end the game, 5-1.
After giving up two singles in the third inning, CSUN’s Gonzalez was replaced by pitcher Alex Muren, who pitched 3.1 innings of four-hit ball.
“I just came in and looked to pound the strike zone. From previous experience, I knew my fastball was good enough to get me through, I just needed to come in early and pound the zone and get them swinging,” Alex Muren said.
The sweep was unattainable, but players are looking ahead to the rest of conference play.
“It would’ve been nice to sweep them because in the conference we have a lot of ground to make up. Every game is important and we just got to get to the next game,” Goossen-Brown said.