FULLERTON, CA—CSUN Baseball’s (20-8, 0-3 BWC) rally fell short in its 8-5 loss to Cal State Fullerton (16-11, 3-0 BWC) on Sunday afternoon at Goodwin Field. The Matadors hit three home runs in the contest including Nolan Flashman, who hit his first career homer in the seventh.
Dylan Alexander also blasted his first home run of the season on Sunday with a solo shot. The Matadors took the early lead in game three of the series but the Titans would put together a five-run third that turned the tide of the game.
“We didn’t play a clean enough game and that’s what led to the runs we handed them. And they did a good job of taking advantage of opportunities,” said head coach Greg Moore. “The team continued to play and brought it back to an 8-5 game.
The postives are that the group continues to work and play. If we did this thing over again, there might be a little less tension. I think they were trying really hard to make things happen. And that’s something we have to address and get better at.”
CSUN staked to the early lead in the first inning with a two-run shot to take its biggest lead of the series. Branden Berry reached base safely after being hit by a pitch, bringing Toerner to the plate with two outs. The sophomore unloaded on a 1-0 pitch, hitting a no doubt two-run blast to right field.
The lead would be short lived as the Titans answered right back an inning later to even the game. Rayne Raven hit Jerrod Bravo to start the frame and he gave up a single to Dalton Blaser two pitches later.
After Raven induced a 6-4-3 double play it appeared CSUN would get out of the jam but the Titans had other ideas. Josh Vargas hit a well placed single over the outstretched glove of Fred Smith at second base to bring home a run and Scott Hurst doubled in the tying run.
With the game tied moving to the third, the Titans put together a huge inning to take control of the game. After the first two batters reached to start the frame, Tanner Pinkston gave Fullerton the lead with an RBI single to left.
The Matadors would be unable to silence the Titans bats for the remainder of the inning as Jerrod Bravo drove in another run on a bunt hit, Chris Hudgins hit an RBI double and Hurst brought home two more with a single to center field.
Trailing 7-2 early, CSUN fought back into the game, leaning on the long ball. Alexander led off the fifth with a shot off the scoreboard in left to bring the Matadors one run closer. Two innings later, Flashman stepped to the plate and deposited a two-run blast over the center field wall to cut the deficit to 7-5.
Meanwhile, the Matador bullpen was strong, quieting the Fullerton bats over the middle innings. Nick Viola tossed 1.2 shutouts innings out of the ‘pen and Andrew Weston pitched a shutout sixth.
The Titans finally got back into the scoring column in the seventh to extend their lead to three. With a runner at first with one out, Dalton Blaser doubled in the eighth run of the game with a hit to deep right.
After being shutout in the eighth, CSUN continued to battle in the ninth, eventually bringing the tying run to the plate. Back-to-back singles from Albee Weiss and Nolan Bumstead brought Alexander to the dish with one out but the Titans escaped the jam on a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
By reaching base safely in the first inning, Berry has now reached base in 20-straight games.
The Matadors conclude their eight-game road trip with a midweek contest at UCLA on Tuesday night. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.