NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s baseball team erased an early deficit Friday, but it was their opponent who came from behind this time to win, as host CSUN scored four runs in the final four innings, including a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, to take a 5-4 series-opening win at Matador Field.
After the Matadors (11-7) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third, the Gaels (11-6) scored three runs the very next half-inning to go up 3-1. RBIs by Jackson Thoreson and Joe Vranesh gave SMC the lead after Brett Rasso led off the inning with a double. Vranesh later hit his first career home run in the top of the seventh, a solo shot to left field, to make it 4-2.
But CSUN tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run home run from Albee Weiss. And with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Justin Toerner singled home Harrison Hart from second for the winning run. It was Toerner’s first hit of the game after going 0 for 3 with a walk in his first four plate appearances.
Saint Mary’s starter Cameron Neff received his fifth no-decision in as many starts this year after exiting with a 4-2 lead through six. He struck out three and allowed two runs on six hits and three walks. All three of CSUN’s runs in the eighth and ninth innings were charged to Ty Madrigal (2-3).
Kevin Milam went 2 for 3 and Vranesh finished 1 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs. CSUN’s 7-8-9 hitters went a combined 1 for 6, while the top six hitters in its lineup had seven of the team’s eight hits. Joey Fiske’s 12-game hitting streak and 16-game reached base streak came to an end Friday with an 0 for 4 day at the plate.
Saturday features a doubleheader between the two teams scheduled for a 10 a.m. start. Right-handed pitchers Jake Valdez (game one) and Drew Strotman (game two) will throw for the Gaels against CSUN’s Samuel Myers (game one) and Tei Vanderford (game two). Fans can find all live coverage links for the series on SMCGaels.com.
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