Matadors Clinch Series With Doubleheader Sweep of Hawai’i

09 Dec 2021 | 06:56 | Baseball

NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—CSUN Baseball (19-16, 19-16 Big West) swept its Saturday doubleheader with Hawai’i at Matador Field. The Matadors run-ruled the Rainbow Warriors in the opener 12-0 in seven innings and pulled out a 4-3 win in game two to clinch their third consecutive series victory. Robert Bullard and Jose Ruiz notched four hits apiece in the twin bill while Mason Le and Jayson Newman each drove in four runs apiece. On the pitching side, Gavin Lizik earned a seven-inning complete game shutout, allowing two hits with a career-high nine strikeouts and Elias Jauregui picked up his first career win after working 4.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen in game two.

The Matadors jumped on Hawai’i in the first inning and never looked back in the opener. Bullard kicked off the inning with a double before Kai Moody roped an RBI single to put CSUN quickly on top 1-0. Moody would steal second base then Ruiz drove him in with an RBI double. CSUN’s aggressive base running led to another run scoring later in the inning. With runners at the corners, Ryan Ball stole second but second baseman Aaron Ujimori misplayed the throw from catcher Tyler Murray, allowing Ruiz to score.

Moody collected another RBI in the second inning on a sacrifice fly to bring home Carlos Arellano.

The early run support would be more than enough for Lizik who impressed throughout his seven innings on the mound. He struck out five batters through the first three innings and did not allow a hit until the fourth.

Meanwhile, the Matadors continued to force the issue on the base paths and capitalize on Hawai’i miscues to tack on runs. Newman, who reached on an error to start the fourth, eventually stole third base and scored on a fielding error by Ujimori with Denzel Clarke at the plate.

CSUN broke the game open in the fifth with a seven-run inning. A total of 12 batters came to the plate as six reached on hits and two on hit by pitch. Newman and Le each drove in two runs on singles while Bullard and Moody also had RBI hits. Newman also collected his second stolen base of the game in the inning.

Lizik yielded a leadoff hit in the fifth inning but it would be the last Hawai’i base runner of the game. After the base hit, Lizik retired the final nine batters of the game to pick up the complete game shutout.

Much like game one, CSUN quickly went in front in the opening inning. Moody walked to open the frame then quickly stole second base. After Moody moved up to third base on a wild pitch, Le rifled an RBI single up the middle to put the Matadors ahead 1-0.

Jeremy Hassel worked a clean first inning but Hawai’i turned the tables in the second inning. Two of the first three batters reached to start the inning before Konnor Palmeira hit a three-run home run. Hassel would retire the next two batters in a row to keep the lead at 3-1.

Playing from behind for the first time in the series, the Matadors answered back in the third inning. Ruiz would set the table with a one-out single up the middle to bring Newman to the plate. The senior delivered with an opposite-field two-run home run to tie the game up.

CSUN would go back in front in the bottom of the fourth on a clutch two-out hit. CJ Yogi, who walked with one out, moved into scoring position on a balk. Hawai’i would intentionally walk Moody to face Le with two outs. Le took advantage of the situation and drove a single to center field to plate Yogi for the go-ahead run.

Entering the game in the third, Jauregui gave the Matadors a lift out of the bullpen. After a 1-2-3 third, Jauregui came away with four strikeouts in the fourth inning, three of which on swinging strikes. He pitched around hits in the fifth and sixth before handing the ball off to Zuko Tillman with one out in the seventh. After a single put runners on first and second, Tillman escaped the jam unscathed by retiring the next two batters.

Jackson Cunningham worked the final two innings but would have to work out of a threat in the eighth. Hawai’i picked up two singles in the eighth but Cunningham retired the last two batters on strikeouts. He gave up a one-out walk in the ninth before sitting down the next two batters to earn his first career save.

CSUN stole eight bases in the doubleheader, sixth of which in game one. Four Matadors had multiple-hit games on Saturday with Ruiz posting two. Clarke extended his on-base streak to 21 games and his hit streak to 16 games. Newman, who has recorded nine multiple-RBI games this year, has hit safely in 16 consecutive games.

Lizik’s two-hit shutout is the Matadors’ first since Wesley Moore accomplished the feat in a 3-0 win over Gonzaga on Feb. 23, 2019. The shutout was the Matadors’ first this season.

“We’ve done a great job of running the bases and putting the pressure on the defenses and I think it created some opening for us. Gavin Lizik continues to get better every week. It started about four weekends ago, he continued to increase his innings, increase his pitches. When you go Friday Sodersten in a complete game and Lizik in a shortened game of seven innings, it allows you to do what we did in game two. I knew I had a lot of bullpen. We give the ball to Elias and he’s another guy in all of our practices who continues to come up and climb the ladder. We’re playing good baseball right now, there’s no other way to look at it. We’re playing with confidence and a lot of things are going our way right now.

As a coach, I’m glad we won obviously but I’m almost glad we had that kind of game [in the nightcap]. After the 9-1 game on Friday and the big win earlier this morning, I’m almost glad we proved to ourselves we could win the close games too. It shows the growth of this team and the growth within this program with what direction we’re going.”

CSUN celebrates Senior Day in their final home game of the season on Sunday afternoon against Hawai’i. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. with an audio broadcast set to stream at with David Gascon on the call. Before first pitch, the Matadors will honor their 11-member senior class with a special pre-game ceremony. Fans can watch the ceremony live starting at 12:30 p.m. on the @CSUNBaseball Instagram account.


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