March 27, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - For the first six innings, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-14, 0-1) and #20-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (14-5, 1-0) battled back and forth in front of a spirited crowd at Matador Field Friday afternoon, but an 11-run seventh-inning by the Gauchos was too deep a hole for the Matadors to climb out of, as they were defeated in their Big West Conference-opening game by a score of 21-12.
RHP Ryan Juarez (3-2, 6.07) will start Saturday's game for the Matadors and face Gaucho LHP Mario Hollands (2-2, 3.55).
Northridge got off to a rocky start in the beginning of Friday's game as Gaucho left-fielder Gunnar Terhune hit a bases-loaded triple in the top of the second inning to score the first three runs of the game for UCSB. Brian Gump would drive in another run before the inning concluded, giving his team an early 4-0 advantage.
Unfazed by the actions that took place earlier in the inning, CSUN began their first comeback effort of the day in their next at-bat as shortstop TS Reed lit up the scoreboard for the Matadors by driving in second baseman Justin DeMarco for the first Northridge run of the game.
DeMarco took first base after being hit-by-a-pitch, one of three Matador batters plunked by Gaucho starter Joe Gardner on the afternoon.
After the Gauchos were retired in-order during their next at-bat, CSUN evened up the score at 4-4 after a three-run, two-hit performance in the third.
With left-fielder Richard Cates leading off that inning with a single up the middle of the infield, right-fielder Ryan Pineda soon joined him on-base thanks to an error committed by Gaucho third baseman Robby Cummings. Once first baseman Dominic D'Anna walked to load the bases, catcher John Parham was drilled by a Gardner pitch force in another run for CSUN.
Pineda would then score, with D'Anna advancing to third on a double-play turned by the Gauchos on the very next at-bat, with D'Anna scoring the final run of the frame on a wild pitch, tying the game at four apiece in the process.
After a wind-aided home run by Gump gave the Gauchos the lead once again in the fourth, the Matadors would respond once again thanks to a two-out double to left field off the bat of Parham that scored Cates and D'Anna, who reached base on a single to up the middle and double respectively, to even up the score once again at 6-6 in the bottom-half of the fourth.
The Matadors would take the lead outright the very next inning as back-to-back-doubles by DeMarco and Jason Dabbs helped the Matadors jump out to a two-run lead once Belanger drove in the latter to give the home team a two-run advantage.
But that lead would be short lived as Gaucho right-fielder John DeAlba hit a solo home run to chop the Matador lead in half, before Gump erased the lead completely thanks to a sacrifice bunt that would score his teammate, catcher Marty Mullins in the Gaucho-half of the sixth.
As competitive as the game was during the first two-thirds of the game, an 11 run, eight-hit effort by UCSB in the seventh inning all but sealed the game as twelve batters took their swings against the home team and combined to hit four doubles, three singles, and one grand slam.
Instead of succumbing to a nearly insurmountable lead, the Matadors instead chose to shake off the events of the inning, and piece together their third come-from-behind effort on the afternoon.
With Pineda and D'Anna hitting back-to-back home runs in CSUN's next at-bat, the Gaucho lead would decrease to an eight-run advantage.
The Matadors would score another run in the eighth inning, but the damage created in the seventh would be too much to overcome as Northridge would end up dropping their conference-opening match by a final score of 21-12.
Northridge will look to turn around their fortunes tomorrow afternoon as both teams return to Matador Field for the second game of the weekend series, first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
UCSB 040 202 (11)11 - 21 20 2
Matadors 013 220 310 - 12 17 1
Win - Samuels (2-0) Loss - Jolicoeur (2-3) T - 3:31 A - 277