Early heavy hitting by CSUN (23-13, 2-8 Big West) provided just enough advantage to push the Matadors past the University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors baseball team (17-18, 6-4 Big West) on Friday, as CSUN held off the 'Bows for a 2-1 series-opening loss.
With five hits through the first two innings, starter Brendan Hornung allowed five runners with no outs. In the first, he worked out of it, closing on consecutive strikeouts. However, in the second, CSUN was able to reach the scoreboard on a bases-loaded Yusuke Akitoshi sacrifice fly.
The Matadors were able to capitalize again, this time on a fourth-inning leadoff walk, as Akitoshi struck again against the 'Bows, bringing Dylan Alexander in on a two-out RBI double to left center for the 2-0 advantage.
CSUN starter Angel Rodriguez retired 10 straight UH batters to open the game before UH third baseman Johnny Weeks lined a single to left in the fourth, but Rodriguez held the 'Bows to just two hits into the seventh.
Coming down the stretch, the 'Bows were able to get started and mark a run on the scoreboard in the seventh, as Weeks doubled to right center off the CSUN starter, later scoring from third during a pickoff attempt and trimming the CSUN lead to one run.
CSUN reliever Connor O'Neil shut down the remaining two frames to earn his seventh save, striking out three. Earning the win, Rodriguez threw 7.0 innings with five hits and five strikeouts.
Taking the loss, Hornung (3-6) overcame a tough start to go 6.0 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, striking out five with two walks.
At the plate, Weeks paced the 'Bows with a 2-for-4 performance, scoring UH's lone run. Marcus Doi went 2-for-3 on the afternoon.
The Rainbow Warriors and Matadors return to action on Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. PDT (10:00 a.m. HT) start at Matador Stadium in the second game of the series.