When UCLA and Cal State Northridge faced off earlier this season, the Bruins took advantage of some Matador defense, posting a win at Northridge courtesy of six errors by the home team.
On Tuesday night, it was the Bruins who came unglued, this time in the first inning when freshman starter Cody Poteet failed to get out of the inning.
Coming off his best start of the year, in which he threw a career-high in innings and strikeouts, Poteet was erratic right away. He was pulled after giving up three runs on two hits while surrendering two walks, one hit batter and one wild pitch.
The three-run first was all CSUN needed as the Matadors picked up a 4-1 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
“It was disappointing coming off of a weekend sweep,” said coach John Savage. “The starting pitching set the tone. Give Northridge credit, I really thought they outplayed us, they out-competed our club. The game will check you and it did tonight.”
After allowing the first two runners to reach base, Savage visited the mound briefly in the first, but Poteet followed with a walk to load the bases, and was eventually pulled with two outs after allowing a two-run double.
UCLA (31-14) had its chances though, collecting 11 hits and loading the bases in the fifth inning while down 3-1. But the Bruins struck out looking and would come no closer for the rest of the game.
“It’s unfortunate with a three-spot in the first inning to try and battle back, but we had our opportunities throughout the whole game,” said sophomore right fielder Eric Filia, who finished 2-for-5.
“Our offense had a lot of opportunities to come through and unfortunately we didn’t.”
UCLA’s final attempt at a comeback fizzled in the bottom of the ninth.
After a leadoff single, junior center fielder Brian Carroll hit a single to right, but the ball hit the runner trying to advance to second, resulting in an out.
Instead of having the tying run come to the plate with no outs, the Bruins proceeded with one out and a runner at first. They followed with a flyout and groundout to end the game.
“We didn’t do everything right. We didn’t pitch well, we had quality at bats throughout but not enough obviously because we scored one run,” said redshirt freshman catcher Justin Hazard, who finished 2-for-3 at the plate.
In the top of the eighth, a couple of blunders allowed another Matador run to score. After reaching on an error, CSUN (30-18) scored following a mix up between junior reliever Zack Weiss and Hazard.
The catcher stood up for a pitch out just as Weiss was about to release his pitch. Weiss’ throw passed over the plate for a wild pitch, which allowed the runner to score from third to make it 4-1.
Despite the setback for Poteet, Savage remains confident his youngster can pick things up moving forward.
“We have a ton of confidence in him and he’s had three really dominating performances lately – two out of the bullpen and one as a starter,” Savage said.
“So, we’ll go back to the drawing board and see how and why that happened, but it was certainly disappointing.”