The Matadors baseball team battled hard and held a lead late against the 11th- ranked UCLA Bruins, but after allowing a rally in the seventh and eighth innings, UCLA proved too much for CSUN, losing 5-4.
Junior starting pitcher John Salas came out dealing on the mound in the first couple innings, but so did Bruin freshman pitcher Cody Poteet. Salas shut down the Bruins’ bats the first two innings, striking out the side in the top of the second.
“I wanted to keep the ball low and get ahead of the count so I could work my off-speed pitches in there,” said Salas, who gave up three hits, two runs and struck out four in four innings. “The first couple innings we did that successfully and kept them off the score board.”
After two consecutive extra-base hits in the top of the third UCLA scored first and a pickle between first and second would help UCLA go on top 2-0.
Northridge started a rally in the bottom of the third with two walks and an RBI single by senior shortstop Mike Attl. With two runners on and two outs, junior leftfielder Miles Williams stepped up and hit a three-run home run to give CSUN their first lead 4-2.
“It felt really good because they had just gone ahead in the top of the inning and to answer back like that gave us momentum going ahead,” said Williams, who went 2 for 4 with three RBI’s.
The Bruins were able to get across one more run in the top of the fifth after a lead-off double. Threatening again in the sixth, with runners on first and third and one out, the Matadors went to sophomore pitcher Jerry Keel.
Walking the bases load on his first batter, Keel struck out the next and got an inning ending pop out to preserve CSUN’s one run lead.
Holding the lead going into the last three innings, the Matadors couldn’t hold back the Bruins any longer. Scoring on a throwing error in the seventh, UCLA tied it up and would soon push across the winning run.
Trying to turn a double play to end the eighth inning, UCLA freshman leftfielder Ty Moore broke up the potential inning ending play with a hard slide, allowing the winning run to score.
Northridge was unable to answer in the late innings, recording no hits in the final three innings. Only recording three hits throughout the game, the Matadors bats were held silent, but their six errors in the field allowed UCLA back in the game.
“The pitchers were all great today and really kept us in the game,” said head coach Matt Curtis. “Our defense has always been there for us, but today was just a melt-down. You are not going to beat the 11th ranked team with six errors on defense. That just simply will not happen in division one baseball.”