Baseball: No. 11 UCLA rally in 8th, beat CSUN 7-3

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Baseball: No. 11 UCLA rally in 8th, beat CSUN 7-3

Justin Toerner battles at the plate in a 7-3 loss by the Matadors versus the No. 11 UCLA Bruins on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2015 at Matador Stadium in Northridge, Calif. Staff Photographer/ Raul Martinez Photo credit: Raul Martinez

Justin Toerner battles at the plate in a 7-3 loss by the Matadors versus the No. 11 UCLA Bruins on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2015 at Matador Stadium in Northridge, Calif. Staff Photographer/ Raul Martinez Photo credit: Raul Martinez

Raul Martinez

Justin Toerner battles at the plate in a 7-3 loss by the Matadors versus the No. 11 UCLA Bruins on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2015 at Matador Stadium in Northridge, Calif. Staff Photographer/ Raul Martinez Photo credit: Raul Martinez

Raul Martinez

Raul Martinez

Justin Toerner battles at the plate in a 7-3 loss by the Matadors versus the No. 11 UCLA Bruins on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2015 at Matador Stadium in Northridge, Calif. Staff Photographer/ Raul Martinez Photo credit: Raul Martinez

Eric Blatz

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The Matadors (4-1) suffered their first loss of the season, as UCLA hit three home runs in a 7-3 victory.

“We didn’t have the sharpness that we needed to execute in a few key situations, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort,” said CSUN Head baseball Coach Greg Moore who thought his team battled well all game long.

UCLA got on the board first in the top of the second inning after third baseman Chris Keck hit a solo shot to right field. The Bruins then took a 2-0 lead in the top of fourth after a wild pitch was thrown by CSUN freshmen starting pitcher Andrew Weston.

Weston threw 3.1 innings, gave up two earned runs and struck out four batters in the no decision.

CSUN scored their first run of the game thanks to an RBI single by left fielder Nick Blaser that sent short stop Yusuke Akitoshi home in the third inning.

Blaser and Akitoshi combined for four hits, two RBIs and one run in the ball game. Akitoshi had three hits of his own to lead the Matadors offense.

Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Matadors were able to tie up the game 3-3 after an RBI double by Akitoshe that sent center fielder Chester Pak home and an RBI groundout by DH Spencer O’Neil that sent second baseman Ryan Raslowsky home.

Moore was very pleased by the young guys who came off the weekend and cleaned up their approaches at the plate.

“I thought the offense did a nice job overall, but we just didn’t get an extension and weren’t able to get one in the gap to change an inning,” said Moore who thought the offense had some really good approaches at the plate. “I liked Albie Weiss day today because I think he got better from Sunday.”

In the top of the sixth inning, CSUN seemed to gain some momentum after relief pitcher Joey Deceglie was able to escape a no-out-bases-loaded jam. Decegile pitched 3.1 innings, allowing one run and and three hits.

“Joey stayed in there and continued to make pitches and was able to finish the inning,” said Moore who thought the defense came up huge that inning.

UCLA then scored four runs in the top of the 8th inning, which broke open the game after they hit two two-run homers to make it 7-3 .

CSUN Pitcher Ray Lambert was charged with the loss as he pitched 0.1 innings, allowed two hits and two earned runs.

“It was nice to get some young guys out there and see how they were going to respond,” said Moore who thought his young pitchers had workman like performance. “There are some things that they got to get better at and I would call them freshmen mistakes, but that’s why we show back up tomorrow.”

The Matadors had a couple more opportunities to put some extra runs on the board, but unfortunately weren’t able to capitalize. Third baseman William Colantono had a one-out double in the bottom of the third and was stranded. Then in the bottom of the fourth there were runners on first and second with one out, but they were stranded after a fly out to the short stop and a ground out to the second baseman.

“We slipped in about two or three pitches there and didn’t execute them and weren’t able to get the job done,” said Moore who thought the effort and preparation was good today.

Despite wins or losses, Moore said he asks the same two questions after every game.

“What do you work on and what do you build on,” said Moore. “Whether you win or lose you have those two questions to ask yourself and that’s what we are going to do right now.”

The Matadors will open a four game series on Friday as they will travel to Seattle University.

Yusuke Slide

Yusuke Akitoshi steals the only base of the game for a CSUN team that was lacking runs in the 7-3 loss by the Matadors versus No. 11 ranked UCLA Bruins on Tuesday Feb. 17, 2015 at Matador Stadium in Northridge, Calif. Staff Photographer/ Raul Martinez Photo credit: Raul Martinez