The CSUN baseball team figured out a way to get some of its problems solved Tuesday afternoon, ending a 10-game losing streak by beating the University of San Diego 13-12 in 10 innings at Matador Field.
After dropping their last 10 games to Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal Poly, the Matadors (13-20-1, 0-9 Big West) managed to do just enough to squeeze past the Toreros (24-19-1, 10-8 West Coast Conference).
Sophomore outfielder Johnny Coit came off the bench in the third inning and wound up delivering the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th inning, scoring sophomore shortstop Raymond Ravago from second base. Ravago had led off the inning by reaching first base on an error by San Diego second baseman Keoni Ruth. The hit was Coit’s only hit in five at-bats.
San Diego jumped to an early lead by scoring three runs in the first inning, which included a couple of run-scoring doubles by designated hitter Jordan Abruzzo and right-fielder Shane Buschini.
Northridge fired right back with five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Right-fielder John Voita and left-fielder Paul Wilson contributed with RBI singles before junior third baseman Erik Hagstrom ripped a two-out, bases-loaded double down the right-field line to put the Matadors on top 5-3.
Craig Baker, CSUN’s starting pitcher, gave San Diego an early lead, got it back, and then unraveled in the second inning. Baker was taken out after six batters reached base without being able to record an out. In his short stint he surrendered eight earned runs on five hits while walking four and striking out one, but was not involved in the decision.
Sophomore Joe Rocchio (3-5), who was credited with the win, came into the game with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and performed well. Rocchio gave up one earned run in 2 1/3 innings of work, and was basically able to shut down the San Diego offense.
The Matador offense managed a total of 18 hits for the game. Eight of the starting nine batters for CSUN contributed at least one hit and every starter scored at least one run as well. Senior catcher Alberto Quintana had a career day, going 5-for-6, with five straight hits, after reaching base on an error in the first inning. Quintana raised his batting average 25 points, from .290 to .315 on the season.
Voita and junior first baseman Michael Paulk made big contributions as well in the high-scoring affair. Voita went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, was hit by a pitch, walked once, and drove in a run. Paulk had a breakout day, with two walks, two home runs, and four RBI.
Paulk’s two homers gave him five for the season and his four RBI gave him a team-leading 23 for the season. Hagstrom, with his 2-for-5 game, raised his team-high batting average up a couple points to .340.
San Diego put up a five-spot in the second inning, thanks in large part to a three-run home run from Abruzzo. Of the first nine baserunners to reach base for San Diego, eight of them would come around to score. Abruzzo ended up with three hits in six at-bats, while scoring three runs and knocking in five more.
The San Diego offense had a total of 15 hits, 13 of which came from five different players. Abruzzo, Buschini, Ruth, Justin Snyder and Logan Gelbrich all had multi-hit games.
USD’s starting pitcher Nicholas Cranmer, like Baker, had a rough outing. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs (three earned) on six hits while walking three and striking out one batter. After being relieved by both Russell Holzhauer and Andy Martin, the Toreros relied on Sean Warlop to calm down the red-hot Matador offense.
The Matadors were scheduled to resume Big West Conference play Friday through Sunday at Matador Field as they were to host UC Riverside for a three-game series. After the weekend contests, Northridge will then host one game against San Diego State on April 26 before going back out on the road.