March 29, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Late-inning magic was again on display at Matador Field Sunday afternoon as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (11-14, 2-1 BWC) led off the ninth inning with a double and a walk and forced UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (14-7, 1-2 BWC) reliever Clayton Edwards to make an errant throw off a Justin DeMarco bunt into foul territory to enable the Matadors to score the winning run.
After scoring six runs in the eighth on Saturday, CSUN scored again late for their third walk-off win this season as the Gauchos joined Texas Tech (3/1) and San Jose State (3/13) as the latest victim of the Matadors late-game heroics.
In the ninth with the score 2-2, Matadors designated hitter Todd Eskelin led off the inning with a scorching double down the left-field line. Moments later, third basemen Jason Dabbs looked to bunt but instead, patiently drew a walk from Gauchos starter Mike Ford.
After a UC Santa Barbara pitching change brought in Edwards, second baseman DeMarco took the first pitch he saw and bunted it back to the mound. Edwards then attempted to get the force out at third to retire Eskelin, but missed his intended target in third baseman Robby Cummings to only watch his throw sail down the left-field line instead, giving Eskelin more than enough time to make the turn at third and trot home with the decisive run.
With Sunday’s outcome, Northridge took two of three from the #19-ranked Gauchos this weekend and secured their first series victory since 2002.
The Matadors pounded 21 runs combined in the first two games of the series with the Gauchos, but in game three they relied on solid pitching all afternoon to keep UC Santa Barbara at bay.
Ryan McCarney started for the Matadors and pitched effectively throughout his 6.1 innings of work. McCarney allowed only two runs and added to his team-high pick-off total with seven, both of which were in the third inning that effectively minimized UCSB’s scoring opportunity.
With one out and a runner on first in the top-half of the third inning, McCarney picked off Gaucho left-fielder Gunnar Terhune at first base. Later in the inning with runners on first and second, the Matador right-hander surprised center fielder Brian Gump with a quick throw into second that ended the inning.
With the Gauchos ready to take the lead for the first time in the game, Matador Head Coach Steve Rousey turned to the bullpen in the seventh inning.
UCSB had already scored once in the seventh until the combined efforts of P.J. Rousey and Brian Slover effectively cooled the Gaucho bats as they could only muster one more hit for the rest of the game.
Both Rousey and Slover continue to be very effective out of the bullpen, as each is sporting microscopic ERA’s of 0.00 and 0.48 respectively.
Eskelin once again made life difficult for UCSB at the plate for the second straight game; after blasting a three-run home run on Saturday, Eskelin went 3-for-4 on Sunday with a single, double, and triple, coming up a home run short of hitting for the cycle.
Also making a significant contribution today was third baseman Dabbs as he brought in two of the three Matador runs. In the bottom of the second, he sacrificed first baseman Dominic D’Anna home from third and an inning later he doubled to left-field to score Eskelin.
Cal State Northridge will return to the field Tuesday afternoon as they take on the UNLV Rebels in the first of a two game series. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00pm.
Baseball fans can follow all of the action live on their computer at www.GoMatadors.com on GameTracker, with the voice of Matador Baseball Dave Caldwell providing the play-by-play for Tuesday’s game only.
UC Santa Barbara 001 000 100 - 2 8 2
Cal St. Northridge 010 100 001 - 3 9 0
Win- Slover (1-1) Loss- M.Ford (3-2)
T- 2:31 A-293