April 29, 2009
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - A four-run second inning would provide all the necessary offense for Cal State Northridge (18-26) to win the season series against UNLV (23-22) as the Matadors defeated the Rebels 8-2 Wednesday afternoon.
With the victory, Northridge split the two-game series in Las Vegas, and secured their third win over UNLV in the four match-ups scheduled this season.
After UNLV took an early lead with one run in their half of the first, the Matadors responded the very next inning as a bloop single to shallow centerfield off the bat of Jason DeMarco, combined with the heads-up baserunning by designated hitter Brian Slover helped the Matadors tie the game at 1-1.
After Slover was hit in the back by a pitch thrown by Rebel starter Brian Gilbertson, Dabbs reached based with his single to left field.
Pruitt would join his teammates on the bench just a few minutes later when Gilbertson threw a wild pitch, allowing the centerfield to easily score from third base for the fourth run of the inning.
UNLV would score one run to trim the Matador lead to 4-2, and threatened to score only one more time throughout the remaining innings, a scoring opportunity that was created in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With Rebels on first and second base, and two outs in the inning, UNLV shortstop Anthony Morel hit a pop fly to the Bermuda Triangle of right-centerfield.
Matador centerfielder Pruitt, right-fielder Pineda, and second baseman Tommy Simis all ran towards one another to make a play on the hit in an effort to end the inning; had the ball dropped anywhere within the triangle of fielders, the Matador lead would have been decreased by at least one run, if not completely erased.
Instead, Simis made a game-saving basket catch over his shoulder to collect the final out of the inning.
That momentum-building play would pay off in the very next set of at-bats when Pineda crushed his ninth home run of the season over the wall in left field to extend CSUN's lead to 5-2.
After back-to-back singles from Richard Cates and Chris Hannick, designated hitter Slover blasted the first pitch thrown by Rebel reliever Matt Hutchison, who entered the game just prior to Slover's at-bat, over the light tower in left field to add another three runs on the scoreboard.
From the moment the ball left Slover's bat, not one Rebel fielder took a step in any direction as everyone in attendance just waited to see if the shot would either clear or ricochet off the eighty-plus foot tall, watt-wielding object behind the left-field fence.
The 8-2 Matador advantage would turn out to be the final score of the game thanks to the combined efforts of CSUN relievers P.J. Rousey, Jimmy Jolicoeur, and Bryan Harper in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings respectively.
The Matadors now have one day off to prepare for their upcoming series against the #1-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters. All three games of the weekend series will take place in Irvine, with a 6:00 p.m. scheduled start for Friday's contest.
Matadors 040 000 400 - 8 13 1
UNLV 101 000 000 - 2 11 0
Win - Tremlin (6-1) Loss - Gilbertson (0-3) Save - None
T - 2:55 A - 268