Traxel Tosses Four-Hitter, CSUN Completes Series Sweep of CSUB

09 Dec 2021 | 06:58 | Baseball

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—CSUN Baseball (13-15, 13-15 Big West) completed a series sweep of CSU Bakersfield (14-13, 11-9 Big West) behind Blaine Traxel’s four-hitter in a 5-1 win on Sunday at Hardt Field. Traxel scattered four hits and allowed one unearned run while striking out six batters. Denzel Clarke homered for the sixth time this season and reached base three times. The Matadors completed their first conference road sweep since 2013.

CSUN provided Traxel with early run support by pushing across two runs in the top of the first. Kai Moody got the Matadors’ offense started with a one-out single before stealing second base. After moving up to third base on a wild pitch, Moody touched home plate following a Jose Ruiz grounder that was mishandled at second base. Jayson Newman kept the offense rolling with a double up against the right-field wall then Ryan Ball made it a 2-0 game on a sacrifice fly.

Traxel would have to battle through the first two innings on Sunday as the Roadrunners picked up three of their four hits on the day in those two frames. In the first, Traxel allowed two singles but a 6-3 double play turned the tide of the inning. After keeping the Roadrunners off the scoreboard in the first, Traxel gave up a hit to start the second before Jashia Morrissey reached on an error. Traxel looked as though he would induce another double play off the bat of Evan Ianniciello but an error on the turn at second allowed a run to score.

The CSUB run in the second would be the only blemish against Traxel on the day. The right-hander retired the final two batters to end the second, starting a string where he retired 18 consecutive batters.

Meanwhile, the Matadors added insurance runs in the third inning on one swing of the bat. After Newman worked a leadoff walk, Clarke launched a no-doubt home run over the left-field wall to put CSUN ahead 4-1.

The three-run lead would be more than enough for Traxel who dazzled on the mound. During his streak of retiring 18-straight batters only three Roadrunners hit balls into the outfield while Traxel racked up five strikeouts along the way.

Traxel’s streak would end in the bottom of the eighth when Aaron Casillas hit a single to center field with one out. CSUB would get another runner on with two outs in the inning after a CSUN error at third base but Traxel retired Eric Charles to end the threat.

CSUN built a 5-1 lead in the ninth inning behind strong baserunning from Robert Bullard. After drawing a one-out walk, Bullard stole second and third base with Moody at the plate. Moody would hit a sacrifice fly to score Bullard, giving the Matadors a four-run edge.

Traxel returned to the mound in the bottom of the ninth and retired the side in order to secure the complete-game win.

Traxel’s (4-1) complete game win was his third in four weeks and the fourth of his career. He retired 23 of the last 25 batters he faced in the game and allowed just one hit after the second inning. Traxel’s work on the mound this weekend also included a save in Saturday’s game one of a doubleheader where he tossed 1.1 shutout innings.

Clarke finished the weekend going 7-of-12 (.583) with six RBI, four walks, three runs, two home runs and two doubles. He also stole four bases. Clarke has hit safely in 10-straight games. Robert Bullard also stretched his on-base streak to 16 games.

CSUN’s road sweep was its first in conference play since defeating UC Davis three-straight times in May 2013. The Matadors’ last four-game road sweep came in 2015 against Seattle U and their last four-game sweep overall was over Houston Baptist in 2016.

“This was a weekend of firsts for this team. We swept a doubleheader on Saturday, which we hadn’t done yet. Then after sweeping the doubleheader, it meant we had secured a weekend series win, which we hadn’t done. Then by winning today, we swept someone for the first time this year. Blaine Traxel again stole the show with his masterful pitching. Plus after some miscues in the second inning, Denzel Clarke blasted a two-run home run to allow us to punch back. Very proud of the direction of this team and how they are continuing to push and get better.”

CSUN continues its road stretch with a four-game series at UC Davis beginning on Friday at 2:30 p.m. All four games will stream on BigWest.TV.