Cal State Northridge scored twice in the seventh and added another run in the eighth to squelch a late Valparaiso rally and defeat the Crusaders 6-3 on Monday afternoon at Matador Field in the final game of a four-game series in Northridge, Calif.
Trailing 3-0 heading into the seventh inning, Valparaiso scored three times in the top of the frame to tie the game, all with two outs. Bobby Martin (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge H.S.) walked and Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.) followed with a single. Corey Thibault (Tustin, Calif./Foothill H.S.) loaded the bases with his first hit of 2011. Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) continued his hot hitting to start his collegiate career, ripping a double to left-center that cleared the bases.
Northridge answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead. Miles Williams hit a two-out, two-run home run to left-center, giving the Matadors a 5-3 advantage. The hosts added an insurance run in the eighth without a hit, taking advantage of three Crusader walks and a hit batsman.
The Matadors struck first in the opening inning, the first time all season Valpo has not scored first. A two-run single by Marty Bowen, who went 4-for-4 on the day, put Northridge in front. Bowen added another RBI in the third with a single, giving Northridge its three-run lead.
Morman had three singles on the afternoon for the Crusaders, his second three-hit game as a collegian, while Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) added two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 straight games. Gaedele has also reached base safely in 18 straight contests dating back to last season.
Drew Muran had three hits for Northridge (5-3) in addition to Bowen’s four-hit night.
Justen Gorski picked up the win (2-0) in relief for the Matadors, working 2.1 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just two hits and striking out three. Greg Stiller (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central H.S.) suffered the loss (0-1) for Valpo in relief, as the sophomore pitched the seventh inning. Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) started and went six innings for Valpo, but got a not decision after allowing three runs and nine hits. He struck out five and walked three.
Valparaiso (1-6) will continue its west coast road trip on Tuesday afternoon, beginning a two-game midweek series up the road in Bakersfield, Calif. First pitch against Cal State Bakersfield is set for 4 p.m. CST.