09 Dec 2021 | 06:49 | Baseball
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—CSUN Baseball (9-14, 9-14 Big West) earned a split in its Saturday doubleheader with Cal State Fullerton (16-18, 9-6 Big West) at Matador Field. The Titans took the opener 6-4 in 10 innings before the Matadors bounced back with a 10-2 win in game two. Jayson Newman led the way offensively with four hits, four RBI and a home run in the two games while Denzel Clarke and Kai Moody picked up three hits and two runs scored apiece. Jeremy Hassel collected his first career victory in game two, tossing a career-high five innings and allowing one run on five hits.
GAME ONE RECAP
Gavin Lizik earned the start for the Matadors in the morning game and would get off to a rocky start as back-to-back hitters collected hits to start the first. Moments after a double from Jackson Lyon, a throwing error allowed Deylan Pigford to score.
Lizik bounced back after the error to retire 13 of the next 14 batters he faced to help keep the Matadors within striking distance. Over that span, Lizik racked up a pair of strikeouts and walked no batters. Jack Gentry picked up a two-out single in the fifth but Lizik induced a 1-6-3 double play off the bat of Josh Urps to end the threat.
On the flip side, the Matadors were held off the scoreboard until the fourth when Newman evened the game on an RBI single to plate Jose Ruiz.
Fullerton would pull in front in the sixth behind a two-out RBI single from Isaiah Garcia but the Matadors answered in the home half of the inning. Moody singled to start the inning before Ruiz doubled to put runners at second and third. Newman tied the contest once more with a sacrifice fly then Ryan Ball gave CSUN a 3-2 lead on an RBI groundout.
The lead was short-lived though as the Titans scratched across the tying run in the seventh but Jackson Cunningham limited the damage. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Cunningham entered out of the bullpen and induced a 4-6-3 double play, resulting in the tying run scoring. Cunningham would sit down the next batter to keep the game squared at 3-3.
Cunningham gave the Matadors a lift out of the bullpen, tossing 3.2 innings, allowing only two hits. Bullard helped Cunningham’s cause by bringing back a home run off the bat of Cole Urman in left field in the ninth.
In the 10th, the Titans put together a two-out rally with five-straight singles to plate three runs. Only two of the five hits cleared to the outfield during the hitting spree. CSUN nearly came away with a late rally of its own in the bottom of the 10th when Newman singled in a run to bring Ball to plate with two outs. However, Cameron Repetti struck out Ball to end the game.
GAME TWO RECAP
Making his first career start, Hassel kept the Titans off the scoreboard in four of five innings while CSUN pounded out 11 hits in a game two win.
Hassel got off to a strong start with a 1-2-3 first inning before yielding a leadoff home run to Garcia in the second inning. However, the homer would be the only blemish against Hassel in game two. Hassel allowed just two hits past the infield over the rest of his outing and would strand five base runners.
Fullerton starter Michael Knorr kept the Matadors off the scoreboard until the fourth when Newman belted a two-out home run to even the game at 1-1.
An inning later, the Matador bats would come alive against Titan pitching. The first five Matadors reached base safely to start the inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Brandon Bohning and an RBI double from Bullard. CSUN added to the lead with three groundballs off the bats of Moody, Ruiz and Ball, each resulting in an RBI, to cap a six-run inning.
The Matadors scored two more in the sixth on RBI singles from Moody and Ruiz and one more in the seventh on an RBI double from Bohning to take a 10-1 lead.
Out of the bullpen, Elias Jauregui and Kyle Hoskins combined to pitch the last four innings in the game, allowing one run on three hits to go with four strikeouts.
Moody recorded his team-best 10th multiple-hit game of the season while Ruiz picked up his fifth multiple-RBI game. Ball, who reached base safely on a single in game two, saw his 20-game on-base streak end in game one. Bullard has now reached base safely in 11-straight games.
Cunningham pitched a career-high 3.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing a run as he received the hard-luck loss in game one.
ACCORDING TO HEAD COACH DAVE SERRANO
“[Jeremy Hassel] kept them off-balanced. Jeremy has worked extremely hard in the bullpen and worked extremely hard from an injury a couple of years ago to get back. He’s one of the team favorites and deserving of this. I’ve seen the consistency coming from him. We’re searching for that fourth starter and he gave us a big shot in the arm. I don’t want to discount what some of the guys out of the bullpen did. Elias did a fabulous job [along with] Kyle Hoskins. A lot of good stuff throughout the day. As I shared last night, even in the loss today, I see a baseball team coming together. It’s about building a program and finding an identity as a team. It’s still a work in progress. I think the guys are starting to see what taking care of the details can do when it comes to success at the end of the baseball game.
Game one was just a good baseball game and maybe we didn’t come up with enough hits with runners in scoring position. They outscored us and they put some runs up late. That’s one that we would like to have. I thought our team bounced back well. The difference was we got some run support. I don’t want to take away from what Gavin Lizik did. He pitched fabulous too for five innings.”