NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — “A win is a win…I’ll leave it at that. A win is a win.”
That’s how Cal State Northridge first-year head coach Greg Moore summed up the Matadors’ 1-0 victory over Stony Brook. The Wednesday afternoon affair at Matador Field featured only eight combined hits and a walk-off walk.
Nick Blaser singled to left field with one out in the ninth inning and walks by Michael Livingston and AB Blanchet loaded the bases for Nicolas Osuna, who had grounded into an inning-ending double play to kill a rally in the seventh inning.
Osuna didn’t even have to lift the bat off of his left shoulder as he watched four straight pitches go wide of the strike zone for a walk-off walk.
“We need a win right now, so we’ll take it,” Osuna said. Listen to him discuss the Matadors’ win:
Northridge (9-14) took a perfect game into the seventh inning before Robert Chavarria singled to left field past a diving Brett Balkan at shortstop. The Sea Wolves (6-9) would leave runners on base in each of the final three frames, but none as disheartening as the ninth inning.
An infield single, sacrifice bunt and wild pitch moved the go-ahead run to third base. Following a walk, Northridge went to closer Shay Maltese against Stony Brook clean-up hitter Kevin Courtney. Maltese struck out Courtney and pinch hitter Kyle Devin to strand the runners and set the stage for the Matadors’ anti-climatic finish.
“My approach is just the same as it has always been,” said Maltese. “I really don’t look at what runners are on. I always go up and take my breath pre-pitch, get the pitch and then make the pitch.”
Watch Maltese (2-0) get ‘jelly bombed’ after collecting the win and then hear what he had to say, not only about entering the game with the go-ahead run 90 feet away, but also about what he’s done to really settle into his role as a full-time pitcher and CSUN’s closer:
For Stony Brook, the loss is a disappointing ending to a West Coast swing that saw the Long Island, New York squad drop a tight series at UC Riverside before taking a Tuesday matchup at USC.
Head coach Matt Senk discusses the rough finish for the Sea Wolves, the West Coast trip and the impact of the team’s recent College World Series visit:
With the Matadors off this weekend, Moore used all three of his weekend starters to “keep them sharp competitively” and “break their routine.” Friday starter Jerry Keel threw 30 of his 38 pitches for strikes going 4.1 perfect innings. According to Moore, Keel was “without a doubt” the best he’s looked this season.
Brycen Rutherford followed with a perfect 1.2 innings and Sunday starter Jordan Johnson threw 1.1 innings, though he did allow Stony Brook its first base hit.
Starter Tim Knesnik and sidewinder Bryan Tatelman were strong for the Sea Wolves, combining to allow four hits and two walks in eight innings.
Northridge’s Ryan Raslowsky (1-3, HBP) and AB Blanchet (1-1, 3 BB) were the only batters to reach base multiple times on Wednesday.
Here are CBD photographer Shotgun Spratling’s top photos from the pitching-dominated action Wednesday: