Control issues and and long balls did the Cal State Bakersfield pitching staff in against CSUN Friday afternoon.
Jayson Newman blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the fifth inning to give the Matadors the lead for good as they eventually pulled away for a 9-4 win over CSUB in Big West baseball play at Hardt Field.
Newman's blast was one of three homers CSUN hit on the day. Denzel Clarke blasted a two-run shot in the second inning to answer a two-run Roadrunner first. Mason Le then connected on a solo shot in the eighth inning.
But it was Newman's home run that was the most impactful. With two on, he hit a shot to right field, which bounced off the top of the wall before trickling over the edge to break a 3-3 tie.
The inning initially looked like it would be a smooth one for the 'Runners, as starting pitcher Ethan Skuija retired the first two batters. But after Kai Moody and Jose Ruiz reached on walks, Newman took reliever Noah Cordova deep out of the bullpen.
"This game's about momentum," CSUB coach Jeremy Beard said. "When you get two quick outs then you walk a guy and something big happens behind it, that's a momentum killer on our end. It's a game of opportunity and when you don't execute and you don't finish an inning, good teams will take advantage of that."
Tyler Jorgensen drove in two runs for CSUB, one on a first-inning sacrifice fly and another on a fifth-inning single. Evan Berkey had three hits and an RBI single in the first inning while Jacen Roberson had a pair of doubles.
But the offense missed its share of chances as well, stranding runners at second and third in both the third and fifth innings, giving the Matadors a chance to pull away.
More offense was needed to pick up a sluggish pitching staff, which recorded eight walks and four wild pitches.
"We had a hard time getting first pitch strikes," Beard said. "We had some two-out walks in there. Anytime you walk eight guys ... against a quality ball club, it's going to be a tough day to win that game. We got on our heels a little bit and I don't think our guys responded as well as they should have. I expect them to do a better job tomorrow, though."
The loss drops CSUB to 11-6 in Big West play and 14-10 overall.
The teams will meet again for a doubleheader at Hardt Field Saturday. First pitch for the opening game will be at noon.