Northridge – CSUN Baseball (4-3) scored three runs in the first inning and received quality pitching in a 5-1 victory over Manhattan on Sunday at Matador Field.
Completing a series sweep, the Matadors scored 57 runs and collected 59 hits over the weekend. Junior Walker Armstrong tossed five shutout innings, striking out four batters and allowing two hits for his first victory with the Matadors. Albee Weiss drove in two runs and scored a run while the trio of Alvaro Rubalcaba, Trevor Casanova and Kevin Riley had two hits apiece.
“He made good pitches and threw to both sides of the plate,” said head coach Greg Moore about Armstrong’s outing. “I was impressed that he stayed with it. He got into a little bit of trouble there in the fourth inning, he got to some three ball counts consecutively. So he’ll do a better job there. But I liked what he did today. He threw all pitches for strikes.”
A day after tying a school record for runs in a game (31), the Matadors struck early in the bottom of the first inning. Rubalcaba singled to start the inning, and two batters later Casanova doubled. Weiss came through with a two-run single to center field, putting the Matadors on top. After Riley singled to put runners on the corners, Toerner singled up the middle to plate Weiss.
The Matadors put up a single tally in the third via another two-out hit. With runners at the corner, Sablock reached on an infield RBI single to short, scoring Toerner.
Armstrong took advantage of the early lead and went to work on the mound. The right hander retired seven of the first eight batters of the game and did not give up a hit until the third inning. In that frame, the Jaspers threatened in the third inning behind a pair of singles. Armstrong faced Fabian Pena with runners on second and third base with two outs but he struck out Pena to end the inning.
An inning later, Armstrong hit a batter and gave up a walk with one out but he would go on to retire the next two batters. He faced the minimum in the fifth behind a key double play as he bounced back from hitting batter to start the frame. Armstrong fanned Brendan Bisset and Casanova threw out Adam Genners at second base for the inning-ending double play.
Cassius Hamm entered out of the bullpen and picked up where Armstrong left off. Hamm retired the first six batters he faced, striking out three batters.
Scoreless through seven innings, the Jaspers were able to scratch across a run against Hamm in the eighth. After the first two batters singled earlier in the inning, Pena legged out an infield RBI single to cut the lead to 4-1. Hamm would get out of further trouble by inducing a 5-3 double play.
The Matadors got back into the scoring column in the eighth on one swing of the bat. Alex Hull homered for the second-straight day with a blast to left center field, extending the lead to 5-1. The home run was the Matadors’ 13th of the series.
Hamm surrendered two singles to start the ninth before Isaiah Nunez came out of the bullpen looking to shut the door. Nunez struck out Michael Pfenninger then forced Alex Cerda to hit into a 5-3 double play to end the game, earning his first career save.
The Matadors return to action on Tuesday for a midweek game at CSU Bakersfield. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.