The Cal State Northridge baseball team increased its winning streak to six games as it swept the Cal Poly Mustangs in a three-game series March 24-26 at Baggett Stadium in San Luis Obispo.
The sweep put the Matadors back above .500, improving its record to 15-14 just in time for conference play.
CSUN had not swept a team since the Nevada Wolfpack on Feb. 3-5.
“It was a great series for us,” said head coach Steve Rousey. “We got a sweep on the road against a good team.”
The Matadors came into the series with a record of 12-14, while the Mustangs held a 16-10 record.
CSUN came into its second series of the season with a starting pitching rotation of junior Craig Baker, sophomore Chuckie Fick and senior Jimmy Brettl. Fick had started the season off as the third in the rotation, and Brettl, who started the season in the bullpen, was put in the starting rotation for the second series in a row.
The Matadors took game one by a score of 5-0 thanks to a solid outing by Baker, who is the Big West strikeout leader. Baker went the distance, pitching nine innings and striking out 10 batters to bring his season total to 61. Baker had no walks and improved his record to 4-4.
Gary Daley came into the series with a 2-3 record, trailing Baker with 49 strikeouts on the season. Daley added to his strikeout total as he recorded five of his own in the game in 7.2 innings pitched. He allowed five runs and nine hits.
Baker received more than enough run support on the offensive end. Second baseman and leadoff hitter junior Jonathan Sakurai went 3-for-4 and scored two runs for the Matadors. Junior designated hitter Kris Kasarjian scored two runs of his own and went 2-for-4 on the day. Junior catcher Steve Lemmon has been on a hitting streak as of late, going 1-for-3 with two RBIs in game one.
The first Matador runs came in the second inning. Kasarjian walked to leadoff the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Raymond Ravago. A double to center by Lemmon brought Kasarjian across the plate. A single by freshman shortstop Scott Lyons brought the second run of the inning home.
The Matadors scored runs in the fourth and fifth inning to give them a 4-0 advantage.
In the eighth, the top of the order for CSUN scored the final run of the game. Sakurai hit a two out single down the left field line and a single by junior center fielder Johnny Coit scored Sakurai.
Cal Poly 7
In game two, Fick took the mound against Bud Norris as game two proved to be a much closer game.
Fick went five innings, allowing five runs on five hits, and struck out five. Norris went 5.1 innings, allowing eight runs on six hits and walking eight batters.
On the offensive end, sophomore left fielder James Scott went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and one run scored. Lyons went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and junior first baseman Jorge Andrade Jr. and freshman designated hitter Richard Cates each had an RBI.
The Matadors took an early lead in the first inning, when Norris walked the first three batters to load the bases. A single by Scott scored the first two runs. A sacrifice fly by Lyons brought the third run of the inning home for CSUN.
The Mustangs scored their first run of the game and the series in their half of the inning. Back-to-back singles by Brent Walker and Adam Buschini put runners on and Jimmy Van Ostrand was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A fielder’s choice by designated hitter Matt Canepa brought home their first run.
Down 4-1, the Mustangs opened the fifth inning with a walk by Walker. Back-to-back singles by Buschini and Van Ostrand loaded the bases. A wild pitch and a fielder’s choice brought the Mustangs to within one run. A triple by center fielder Matt Cooper brought the last two runs of the inning across the plate and gave the Mustangs a 5-4 lead.
The lead did not last long as the Matadors responded with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth. A walk, a Mustang error and four Matador singles gave the Matadors an 8-5 edge.
Cal Poly 6
In game three, Brettl got his second start of the season taking on DJ Mauldin. Brettl pitched 5.1 innings, giving up six runs and seven hits. Freshman Jimmy Jolicoeur and junior Joe Rocchio provided solid relief pitching a combined 3.2 innings and allowing only two hits. Jolicoeur struck out four and earned his first win of the season.
Scott and Cates both went 2-for-5 as Scott also recorded two RBIs in the game. Sakurai went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored.
In the seventh inning, a sacrifice fly by Sakurai scored the winning run of the game, breaking a 6-6 tie.
After giving up one run in the first inning, the Matadors responded with two runs of their own in the second.
A two-out rally in the fourth inning gave the Matadors a 5-1 advantage.
A home run by center fielder Grant Desme in the fourth and a two-run home run by third baseman Josh Lansford in the fifth cut the Matador lead by one run.
The Matadors scored another run in the sixth inning to give them a 6-4 advantage.
The Mustangs tied the game at six in the sixth inning. Left fielder Jimmy Gardiner singled to score shortstop Brent Morel. Later in the inning, the Mustangs loaded the bases and scored their final run off a Matador wild pitch.
The Matadors begin conference play on the road March 31 against Cal State Fullerton.
Rousey said they will approach each conference match one game at a time.
Fullerton is ranked fourth by Baseball America and eighth by Collegiate Baseball.
Victor Flores can be reached at email@example.com.