Morales, Merten Shut Out Matadors To Claim Series Win

Andrew Morales (photo courtesy of Marlin Agoub)
Andrew Morales (photo courtesy of Marlin Agoub)

IRVINE, Calif. --- In a series in which the first two games were decided by one run, the Anteaters (23-9, 5-4), built a two-run lead and held off Cal State Northridge, 2-0, behind a combined shutout effort from Andrew Morales and Mitch Merten.

Morales pitched a seven-inning shutout, extending his scoreless streak to 14.1 frames. The right-hander, who improved to 8-0 on the year, struck out six and walked two while scattering six hits.

Morales faced threats in the early innings by the Matadors (19-17, 5-4). In the second with runners on first and second with one out, Morales struck out Kyle Ferramola and ended the inning on a groundball to second. Morales faced a one-out bases-loaded situation in the third but struck out Chester Pak and fielded the ball off the bat of Alexis Mercado to keep CSUN off the board.

Morales then went on to face one over the minimum through the middle innings until giving up a single and a walk to open the eighth. Morales handed the ball off to Merten and following a sacrifice bunt from Josh Goossen-Brown for the first out, Merten induced a fly-ball out to center before striking out the final batter to leave two stranded.

Merten struck out two in a perfect ninth to post his second save of the season.

The Anteater offense was held to four hits but seized on leadoff opportunities in the fourth and the fifth. Connor Spencer singled against starter John Salas to open the fourth inning and was doubled in by Ronnie Shaeffer to put UCI on the board.

Grant Palmer hit a key leadoff double in the fifth and moved to third on the sacrifice bunt from Jonathan Herkins before scoring on the sacrifice fly from Chris Rabago.

Shaeffer doubled twice to lead UCI with two hits and an RBI.

Salas went the distance, logging eight innings and giving up two runs on four hits but fell to 2-5.


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