Baseball: Matadors off to best start since 2007 with series win over St. Mary’s

Baseball: Matadors off to best start since 2007 with series win over St. Mary's

Joell Grager

Senior utility player Cal Vogelsang earns his lone hit of the game against the Gaels Sunday afternoon. Photo credit: Ken Scarboro / Senior Photographer

The Matadors went into Sunday winning two out of the three games of their season-opening series against St. Mary’s Gaels, and came away with the series-clincher 8-3.

Off to a slow start, Northridge took the lead in the third inning and held St. Mary’s to a single run through six innings.

Saturday’s doubleheader started with CSUN’s victory 8-3, but ended with the team’s first loss to St. Mary’s 8-6.

After losing the third game in the series, CSUN adapted to hold them off Sunday.

Freshman pitcher Calvin Copping was lights out in the first game, holding the Gaels to a single run through 6.1 innings played.

The coaches were eagerly waiting to see how Copping would perform in his CSUN debut.

“We were excited by what Calvin did in the fall and in the preseason…this weekend he did exactly what he’s done pretty consistently throughout the fall,” said head coach Matt Curtis. “It’s always pretty exciting to see a guy get his first win.”

Copping gave up only three hits, one run and two walks, striking out five of the 23 batters he faced.

Leading them with his pitching, Copping set the tone, which Northridge carried throughout the rest of the game.

Relievers were brought in after Copping gave up a hit in the sixth inning.

“I could’ve probably finished (the game) yeah, but it’s a good thing (coach) took me out,” Copping said.

The Matadors rallied to a 4-1 lead in the third inning. Senior left fielder Nate Ring hit a single to third, as redshirt junior utility player Josh Goossen-Brown dashed towards home and scored to make it 2-1 in the bottom of the third.

Two singles up the middle prepped the bases, and junior outfielder Miles Williams loaded them.

Capitalizing on a right field error committed by the Tigers, CSUN scored three runs.

“(In the) third inning we just put some good at bats together. You know, we got through the line up once so we saw th pitcher,” Goossen-Brown said. “And we put a couple hits together and we got one big one and they made an error and we capitalized on it.”

Goossen-Brown led the team with three hits and two RBI’s. He attributes their success to the team’s approach against left-handed pitchers in batting practice.

“We knew they were going to have a lot of lefties this weekend so we, you know, set some things up where we could get our timing down against them and approaches against lefties,” Goossen-Brown said, “So I think that paid off a lot this weekend.”

Junior pitcher Michael Coates relieved Copping in the sixth and pitched 1.2 innings, giving up two runs to St. Mary’s.

“They got a little rally going, but Coates buckled down and threw strikes and made some good pitches and we got out of that, and Shay just shut it down in the ninth,” Goossen-Brown said.

St. Mary’s errors aided CSUN in five of their eight runs scored.

“Top to bottom, I thought the pitching did a great job. I thought the defense was solid and steady all weekend and that’s something we take a lot of pride in,” Curtis said.

Their 3-1 record is the Matadors best start since the 2007 season.