CSUN Baseball (1-2) dropped the finale of its three-game series to CSU Bakersfield (2-1), 5-3, on Sunday afternoon at Matador Field. Justin Toerner finished with two RBI and a run scored while Yusuke Akioshi had two hits. The Matadors took a lead into the seventh inning in the contest before the Roadrunners rallied with three unanswered runs to claim the rubber match.
“We didn’t capitalize when we had the chance and they did. That was the difference,” said head coach Greg Moore. “They got into a few plus counts and they took advantage. There were a couple of pitches we would like to take back. Today was a good day to take some lessons away about what we need to do in terms of execution. This is probably going to be a good thing for this team.”
Through the first two games of the series, each road team claimed victories on the road as both CSUN and Bakersfield never trailed in either contest. On Sunday, the theme of the weekend continued early on as the Roadrunners staked to the early lead.
After Dustin Frailey singled to start the game and stole second base two batters later, Max Carter put CSUB in front with an RBI single. In the fourth, the Roadrunners added a second run on a two-out, RBI double off the bat of Mahlik Jones to go up 2-0.
The Matadors answered back in their half of the fourth thanks to timely hitting with two outs. With Akitoshi at second base and two outs, Berry worked a four-pitch walk to bring up Toerner. The sophomore would triple into the right center field gap to clear the bases. Next, Nolan Bumstead stepped up to the plate and delivered a base hit to left to give CSUN its first lead at 3-2.
Starter Joe Ryan went 4.0 innings in the contest, striking out four batters and allowing four hits while keeping CSUN within striking distance.
In the fifth, the Matador bullpen entered and protected the 3-2 lead over the next two frames. Mathew Troupe pitched out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the fifth and he stranded the tying run at third base in the sixth when he struck out Jake Ortega looking.
The Roadrunners would break through in the seventh as Frailey homered to start the frame. Later in the inning, Carter singled in the go-ahead run with a one-out hit to right field. In the eighth, Bakersfield pushed across an insurance run on a home run from Chance Gusbeth that just wrapped around the fair pole in left field.
Trailing by a pair for the second time in the contest, the Matadors looked to rally again. After stranding a runner at third in the seventh, CSUN threatened with runners at first and second base with one out in the eighth. Similar to earlier in the contest, Toerner stepped to the plate and drove a shot to right field but his long fly would be run down by Gusbeth at the warning track.
CSUN would be denied in the eighth and ninth innings as Bakersfield held on to claim the 5-3 victory.
Freshmen Ruiz and Jayson Newman made their collegiate debuts on Sunday. Ruiz came on in the seventh as a defensive replacement in left field and recorded a walk while Newman pinch-hit in the ninth inning. Troupe made his Matador debut and tossed 2.1 innings in relief and struck out four batters.
The Matadors hit the road to face the Pepperdine Waves on Tuesday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.