May 3, 2009
IRVINE, Calif. - A three-run first inning by the #1-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters (34-11, 14-1 BWC) would turn out to be the difference in Sunday's series finale as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (18-29, 4-14 BWC) were defeated by a score of 5-2.
A two-run home run by Anteater first baseman Jeff Cusick gave the home squad an early 2-0 lead, followed by a RBI single just a few batter later to complete the early scoring outburst.
Unfazed by the action that took place the previous inning, Cal State Northridge responded with a run of their own the very next inning to chip away at the Irvine advantage.
John Parham would then drive in Pineda with his double down the left field line for the first Matador run on the afternoon.
The 3-1 Anteater lead would remain the same throughout the next handful of innings as both starters were able to regain control of their pitches, and prevent the other team from building any momentum or creating a viable scoring chance.
Matador RHP Billy Ott did not allow the events of the inaugural inning to influence the rest of his performance as he only allowed another four hits scattered through the five innings thrown after the `Eaters initially scored to keep his team in the game.
During his six full innings on the mound, Ott struckout four batters, with reliever Brian Slover striking out another three batters during his respective 2.0 innings in-relief.
After UCI scored one run in the sixth inning to extend their lead to 4-1, Anteater catcher Francis Larson hit a solo home run of his own to left field to add another insurance run on the board for Irvine.
Hardly a factor in Friday evening's game, the wind continued to blow out to left field during the two day games played throughout the weekend. Whereas Cusick's home run would have cleared the fences even with the wind blowing towards home plate, fans in the crowd could easily be heard conversing and debating with one another about the end result of the second home run had the game been played at night.
Regardless of the answer formed by the 1,215 fans in attendance the Matadors had their work cut out for them once again as they headed into the ninth inning.
In Saturday night's game, Northridge was able to score three runs of their own in their half of the ninth inning, a fact not lost by either team or the fans in attendance.
After Richard Cates singled to right-field and advanced to second base on a Hannick ground out, Parham would earn his second RBI of the game as his single enabled Cates to score the Matador's second run of the contest. Instead of replicating their efforts from the game before, Irvine reliever Eric Pettis would prevent CSUN from scoring another run in the game as he was able to secure the third out of the inning to give his team a 5-2 victory over the visitors from the Valley.
Even in defeat, there were some positive points for `Ridge baseball fans to consider.
The seven strikeouts collected by the Matadors in Sunday's contest equaled the amount of k's earned in the first two games of the series combined; both Northridge pitchers needed to pitch a solid game to enable their team to become the first Big West team to emerge victorious from Anteater Ballpark this season, outside of the two Anteater home runs hit in Sunday's match-up both were able to do just that.
Northridge was also able to add to their conference-leading pickoff total of 27 when Parham earned his fifth pickoff of the season when he threw a bullet to first baseman Cates to back-pick Anteater left-fielder Ryan Fisher to earn the first out of the fourth inning.
With the Matadors now serving as the odd team out in the Big West Conference this week, Northridge will now have the entire week off before returning to action this Saturday with a two-game, non-conference series against the USC Trojans.
First pitch this Saturday, May 9th is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.; fans unable to attend can listen to the voice of Matador Baseball Dave Caldwell broadcast all the action from Matador Field or follow along in real-time on GameTracker by visiting www.GoMatadors.com.
Matadors 010 000 001 - 2 6 1
UC Irvine 300 001 01x - 5 8 0
Win - Slaught (4-0) Loss - Ott (1-4) Save - Pettis (14)
T - 3:21 A - 1215