April 25, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (17-24, 4-10 BWC) were unable to hold on to a two run lead Saturday afternoon against UC Riverside (23-13, 4-7 BWC) and fell by the score of 5-4 despite a quality start by Justen Gorski.
Gorski turned in six outstanding innings of work and only allowed three runs on five hits. His only mistake on the afternoon was a two out, two-run home run in the top of the sixth to UC Riverside designated hitter Michael Hur that tied the game at 3-3.
Despite the home run, Gorski held the Highlanders hitless in four of his six innings on Saturday, including retiring six straight in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Highlanders would break the tie in the seventh by scoring a pair of runs off Ryan "China" McCarney. After McCarney allowed a lead-off walk, he retired two straight batters and looked as though he would end the UC Riverside rally, but a Trevor Hairgrove single and a Carl Uhl double would produce two runs off the Northridge right-hander.
P.J. Rousey would enter the game in the seventh to the end the rally by throwing a single pitch that finally retired the threat.
Despite the unfortunate turn of events in the sixth and seventh, the Matadors would set their sights on attempting another come-from-behind effort.
In the last of the ninth, left-fielder C.J. Belanger roped a one out double to deep center field. The next batter, third baseman Justin DeMarco would reach first despite striking out. Highlander closer Joseph Kelly sailed the strikeout pitch past catcher Robert Brantly's glove that made it all the way to the backstop behind home plate. The throw gave DeMarco enough time to safely reach first and for Belanger to move to third base.
Second baseman Tommy Simis next took to the plate and grounded to third that looked like a potential inning-ending double play but Simis would safely make it to first base before the relay throw, keeping the game alive for the Matadors and also giving Belanger the opportunity to score.
Kelly though would end the threat by retiring center fielder Jeff Pruitt on a popout in foul territory for his seventh save of the season.
Northridge would tally their first run of the game in the home half of the first thanks to a barrage of Highlander errors.
After Pruitt led off the game with a walk, he would reach to second base on Highlander starter Matt Andriese's errant pick off attempt sailed down the right-field line. Pruitt would then advance to third on a similar play at second, with Andriese again unable to throw accurately to his intended target. Shortstop Jason Dabbs would then patiently draw a walk bringing up first baseman Richard Cates.
Cates hit a dribbler to the pitcher, but Andriese could not field the ball cleanly as he lost his balance momentarily until he finally regained his footing only to throw another errant throw to first that would score Pruitt.
In the third however, Cates would not put much pressure on Andriese to make a play as he homered to deep right-field for his second home run of the season and his second run batted in of the game.
Northridge would take a 3-1 lead in the fourth when DeMarco brought in Chris Hannick from third on a ground out. Hannick reached on a one out single, then Belanger doubled to right field that sent Hannick to third and gave DeMarco the opportunity to bring in the run on the ground ball.
Despite the loss, the Matadors received a good effort from Rousey and Jimmy Jolicoeur out of the bullpen. The two combined to retire all seven of the batters they faced while striking out three.
The Matadors will face UC Riverside in the finale of their three game series tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled at 1:00 pm.
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 play-by-play.
UC Riverside 010 002 200 - 5 7 4
Cal St. Northridge 101 100 001 - 4 6 0
Win- Andriese (4-2) Loss- McCarney (1-4) Save- Kelly (7)
T- 2:47 A-389