March 18, 2008

Defense the Difference in 6-2 Northridge Loss

March 18, 2008

Box Score

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Led by Billy Ott, the Cal State Northridge (9-8) hurlers collectively had one of their best performances of the year, but defensive miscues and a strong performance from opposing pitcher Lee Roberts plagued the Matadors in a 6-2 loss to Loyola Marymount (9-10) in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Ott and Roberts staged an early pitchers' dual, trading scoreless frames through the first three innings. Behind Ott's dominating performance, a fourth-inning score and one-run lead seemed like a positive harbinger. Instead, the defense unraveled in the fourth, when Ryan Pineda made an errant throw, allowing a runner to advance. Ott was later chased, his 4.1 innings and two earned runs belying four very strong innings.

Ott gave way to Peter Mendez, who made it to straight impressive outings. The redshirt freshman southpaw managed 3.1 innings in relief, allowing just one hit. However, after inducing a harmless ground out in the seventh, back-to-back errors breathed life into what perhaps should have been a 1-2-3 inning. With runners on second and third- both aboard due to errors- Mendez plunked A.J. LaMonda, loading the bases. Lion powerhouse Andy Preston then smacked a fly ball off the right field wall, a hit that went for a two-run single. The Lions added another score on a sac fly.

After another unearned run in the eighth, the Northridge comeback bid fell short, and the Lions claimed a 6-2 win. Roberts managed a complete game victory.

On the offensive side, Ryan Pineda and Richard Cates each went 2-for-4 and scored runs, and Jowen-James Murray-Thornton and John Parham each logged RBI. Cates registered a double and a triple, expanding team-leads in both categories.

The Matadors return to action Thursday when they continue their four-game set with Loyola Marymount. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. from LMU's Page Stadium.

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