The California State Northridge men’s baseball team continued Big West conference play, losing two out of three games against the University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos April 28-30 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in Santa Barbara.
The Matadors’ overall record stands at 19-22 on the season, and 3-8 in conference play.
Despite a 3-for-5 effort by second baseman and leadoff hitter junior Jonathan Sakurai, the Matadors fell in game 1 4-2.
Junior Craig Baker took the loss for the Matadors, dropping his record to 5-6. He allowed two runs and three hits and struck out four.
Baker left the game due to a leg injury, said head coach Steve Rousey.
Matador relief pitchers senior Jimmy Brettl, freshman Jimmy Jolicoeur and senior Matt Gaylord combined for five innings, two runs, four hits, and striking out five.
Andy Graham went 8.1 innings for the Gauchos, allowing two runs and eight hits with six strikeouts.
CSUN scored its first run of the game in the top of the third inning. Sakurai scored from third on a wild pitch to give them the 1-0 lead.
The Gauchos answered in their half of the inning. Shane Carlson singled to right and reached second on a passed ball. A single by Alden Carrithers scored Carlson to tie the game 1-1.
UCSB scored two more runs in the sixth and their final run in the seventh to give them a 4-1 lead.
The second and final Matador run came in the eighth inning. Junior catcher Steve Lemmon hit a solo home run to give him his fourth of the season.
UCSB took game two of the series thanks to a big seventh inning. Down 4-1, the Gauchos managed to score seven runs to give them an 8-4 victory.
Sophomore Chuckie Fick started for the Matadors in game two and allowed one run and three hits in six innings.
“He pitched very well,” Rousey said. “He didn’t have his best stuff but he had good command. He was hitting his spots.”
Leading 2-1, the Matadors increased their lead in the top of the seventh inning. Freshman shortstop Scott Lyons singled to right with the bases loaded to bring in two runs.
But a four hit, four walk and a hit batsman seventh inning allowed the Gauchos to take an 8-4 lead that the Matadors were unable to overcome.
The Matador bullpen struggled as it allowed seven runs and four hits in two innings. Four relief pitchers were used in the game by the Matadors.
Relief pitcher Justin Segal earned his fifth win of the season to give him a 5-2 record.
Lyons finished 2-for-5 on the day with two RBIs and Lemmon recorded two hits of his own.
The Matadors received their most impressive pitching performance of the series in the final game as they avoided the sweep taking the game by a score of 4-0.
In game three, freshman Edwin Quirarte allowed only four hits in a shutout. He struck out four batters and walked none to earn his third win of the season.
“It was special,” Rousey said. “A four hit shutout on the road in Division I baseball is a special thing.”
A two-out double by sophomore designated hitter James Scott scored Lyons in the first inning to give the Matadors an early 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Lyons’ clutch hitting came through for the Matadors. With bases loaded and two outs, Lyons singled to right scoring two runs to give the Matadors a 3-0 advantage.
“He thrives under pressure,” Rousey said. He’s been productive both offensively and defensively, he said.
Junior third baseman Todd Shelton scored the Matadors final run in the ninth off a single by Sakurai.
Lyons paved the way for the Matadors offense putting up another 2-for-5 performance with two RBIs and one run scored. Sakurai went 2-for-4 on the day with one RBI and one run scored. Shelton also scored two runs and senior right fielder Paul Wilson recorded two doubles on the day.
“We scuffled on Friday and Saturday,” Rousey said, referring to the Matador offense. The time off may have thrown our timing off, he said.
The Matadors come home to take on UC Davis in non-conference play May 5-7.
Victor Flores can be reached at email@example.com.