09 Dec 2021 | 06:45 | Baseball
From June 21 to August 6, GoMatadors.com will present its top-10 CSUN sports moments from the 2020-21 year. At No. 7, CSUN Baseball rallies from a five-run deficit and defeats UC Irvine on Kai Moody’s three-run home run in extra innings on April 4.
To say CSUN baseball’s four-game series with UC Irvine was the most unique series of the season may be an understatement. In a series that included a game suspension due to darkness, quality pitching, timely hitting, walk-off home runs and two run-rule decisions, Kai Moody’s blast in the 10th inning giving the Matadors a 9-6 win over No. 26 UC Irvine may have been the highlight of the weekend. Trailing by as many as five runs, the Matadors staged a come-from-behind rally that culminated with a walk-off three-run home run that stunned the future NCAA Regional bound Anteaters.
A day after Ryan Ball hit a walk-off home run for CSUN, the Matadors found themselves in an early hole in game three of the series. Blaine Traxel did his best to keep the Matadors within striking distance but UCI scored five runs on seven hits through the first five innings. Stranding six base runners through the first five frames, Traxel would rebound to post back-to-back shutout frames to help cool off the UCI bats.
Trailing 5-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth, the Matadors began to chip away at the deficit. Three singles including a base hit from Ball put the Matadors on the board in the fifth inning before a second run came in via an RBI single from Jose Ruiz.
The Matadors would get a run closer on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Carlos Arellano in the sixth and they pulled to within one in the seventh after Moody hit a sacrifice fly.
After UCI pushed the lead to 6-4 in the top of the eighth, CSUN responded with a single tally of its own when Bobby Silvis hit an RBI double in the home of the eighth.
CSUN trailed 6-5 entering the bottom of the ninth and appeared it might come up just short when the first two batters were retired in order. However, Ruiz kept the game alive with a bloop double. Head coach Dave Serrano then called on freshman Luke Powell to pinch-hit with the game on the line. Powell would come through with a single to center field, plating pinch-runner Nathan Barraza to tie the game at 6-6.
Chad Wilson, who came on in the eighth, pitched a scoreless top of the 10th to give the Matadors a chance to complete the comeback.
The home half of the 10th started the same way as the ninth as the first two batters were retired on groundouts. Arellano stepped to the plate next and battled to a 2-2 count before singling. Denzel Clarke followed with another quality at-bat by fighting back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk. Moments later, it was Moody who came through with the hit of the game. On a 1-0 pitch, Moody belted a drive over the left-field wall, putting the CSUN bench into a frenzy and giving the Matadors a 9-6 victory.
Moody finished 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored while Arellano also went 3-for-5 with two runs. Wilson earned his first career victory, working three innings out of the bullpen and one run allowed.