May 4, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge (20-24, 6-12) dispatched UC Irvine (30-12, 8-7) 4-1 Sunday, ending a seven-game slide to the 'Eaters that started in 2006. Northridge avoided the sweep and claimed its 20th win, giving the program its first 20-win season since 2006 and its second since winning the Big West title in 2002.
Ryan Juarez made his third outstanding start in a row on the day and continued what has been the Matadors' best weekend for starting pitching. Juarez wiggled out of trouble in the first after two walks and an error in the field and settled down considerably after that, handling the 'Eaters easily in the second and third. A leadoff double bit him in the fourth as Francis Larson came around to score on a balk and a ground out, but Juarez retired the side in order in the fifth and came out unscathed in the sixth and seventh.
Juarez collected the longest outing of his career and finished without a strikeout but with just three hits and one run scattered over seven strong innings.
On the other side, the Anteater pitching continued to be dominant. Starter Daniel Bibona was lights out through six, allowing just one man to reach scoring position in that span. That man, John Parham, reached on a hit by pitch and reached third on a Richard Cates double. Both were stranded.
The hit batsman actually broke up a perfect game bid and the double ruined a no hitter.
Following the walk, Matt Warr bounced a ball to third that looked like it may have been two, but an errant throw allowed Pineda to advance and Warr beat the relay to first.
With the bases full, Dominic D'Anna slugged a screamer down the left field line. Third baseman Eric Deragisch got enough leather on it to keep it to a single, but the tying run scored in the form of pinch runner C.J. Belanger. Jason Dabbs followed with a bouncer to second base that was too shallow for two that scored Pineda, and TS Reed singled into left field to clear the bases and give the Matadors a 4-1 lead.
Edwin Quirarte came on for the eighth and, despite an Anteater single in both frames, nailed down the two-inning save. Quirarte moved into seventh on the single-season saves list and is just two behind Mike Frick, who collected nine in 2001. He is also climbing the all-time career charts and is now in a tie for fourth with eight.
Cates finished 2-for-4 on the day, leading six Matadors in the hit column. D'Anna had the key single but TS Reed paced the Matadors with two RBI.
Reed was also the busiest defender on the day, making seven assists and three put outs. His double play partner, shortstop Jason Dabbs, had five assists and played well in his second game back from an injury that shelved him for nearly six weeks.
The Matador pitching staff was dominant for the weekend. Even with four runs allowed on Friday, Northridge surrendered just six runs for the weekend and wrapped up a week that saw the give up just 10 runs and 31 hits in five games.
Northridge next travels to UNLV for the second half of a home-and-home weekend series with the Rebels. Northridge took the first two at Matador Field earlier this week. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Play-by-play audio will be available at GoMatadors.com.