April 26, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Early hitting and defensive stops were not enough to propel the visitors, as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (18-22) were defeated 6-4 by the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (18-17) in a non-conference game at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
The Matadors led early and rallied to tie the game late but could not hold off a final charge as the Gauchos scored four times in the later stages to steal a victory.
Senior Ridge Carpenter drew a full-count walk to open up the game for Northridge and Adam Barry singled off the glove of the second baseman to move him to third. Centerfielder Andrew Muren converted a sacrifice opportunity by flying out to left and scoring Carpenter to give CSUN a 1-0 lead after the top of the first.
UC Santa Barbara loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with nobody out but Matador starting pitcher Carlos Gonzalez, Jr. struck out the next two swinging and created a flyout to get out of trouble.
The Matadors doubled their lead in the top half of the third inning after Carpenter led off with a single to right field. With one out, Muren singled to center field and catcher Marty Bowen walked to load the bases. Designated hitter Steven Keller then hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Carpenter for the second time in the contest.
The Gauchos fought back and plated a run in the bottom of the third as Derek Eligio homered on the second pitch of the inning. Gonzalez recovered on the mound, however, and set down the next three UCSB hitters to get out of the inning.
Northridge responded and increased the lead back to two runs at 3-1 in the top of the fourth. Facing a relief pitcher, Joshua Goossen-Brown singled to left on the second pitch of the at-bat. With one out, Kyle Attl used a sacrifice bunt to move Goossen-Brown to second. TS Reed then took a 1-1 pitch right back up the middle for an RBI single.
UC Santa Barbara scored again in the bottom of the fifth as a leadoff double eventually came around to score on a two-out single by Mark Haddow. The Gauchos took the lead for the first time in the game in the bottom of the seventh as another leadoff double scored, this time on a two-run homerun for Haddow.
Not wanting the momentum the shift away, the Matadors answered with a run of their own in the top of the eighth to level the score at 4-4. Muren started the inning with a single to center field and advanced to second on a wild pitch with no outs. A soft ground ball from Bowen moved Muren to third and Keller singled on a 2-0 pitch to drive in the run.
The final blow of the game came in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the Gauchos scored the final two runs with two outs to create the final margin of victory. A two-out double scored on a single to put Santa Barbara ahead by one before a ground ball that got past Attl at shortstop and rolled to the wall for a triple brought home the final runner.
Carpenter finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored, Muren went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, Keller went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and Goossen-Brown collected two hits in four at-bats.
With his single in the top of the first, Barry extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest in the Big West Conference this season.
On the mound, Gonzalez, Jr. pitched 3.0 innings and struck out four while allowing just three hits in a no decision. Alex Muren pitched 3.0 innings and struck out three. The losing pitcher was Chris DeBoo (0-1), who was charged with the deciding run after 1.1 innings pitched.
The Matadors return to action this weekend with a three-game conference series against the UC Davis Aggies. The series will begin on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Dobbins Baseball Stadium in Davis, Calif.