May 9, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cal State Northridge (24-20, 6-9 BWC) would take an early 2-1 lead after two innings of action against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (20-22, 6-9 BWC), but two three-run innings by the home squad were enough to hand CSUN their only defeat of the weekend.
Even though the Matadors were defeated Sunday afternoon by a score of 8-4, they did win two of the three games played by the beach, and provided the necessary start to their season-long seven game road trip.
UCSB was the first to light up the scoreboard as they jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after the first inning of play. Gaucho fans had little time to enjoy their advantage as CSUN responded the very next inning with two runs of their own to shift he lead their way.
Leading off the second inning with a single, Brad Decater took second base when a throw to first base from Gaucho starter Jesse Meaux breezed past its intended target, giving Decater ample opportunity to advance another base on the error.
Drew Muren advanced Decater to third on his ground out to the second baseman before DeMarco joined him on-base after being hit by a pitch on his elbow.
With Matadors on the corners, Dominic Piazza and TS Reed hit back-to-back singles to center field, driving in Decater and DeMarco to give the road warriors their first lead of the game. The RBI was Piazza's 13th and Reed's 16th of the season.
After a scoreless third inning, UCSB scored three runs on two walks, two singles, a wild pitch, and an error in the fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead.
That two run lead would fluctuate in the next inning; after hitting his 13th home run of the season, a solo shot to right field to shave the lead by a run, UCSB would earn it back in their next set of at-bats in the bottom half of that same inning.
Unfazed by the actions that took place in the bottom of the fifth, CSUN remained aggressive on the base paths in an attempt to dictate the pace of the game. After Muren led off the inning with a single to first, he promptly stole second and third base to place himself only 90 feet away from the plate.
As quickly as Northridge created some momentum with their newly-developed scoring opportunity, a play at the plate would soon change the dynamics of the inning completely.
By hitting a pop-fly to left field, Piazza gave Muren an opportunity to score CSUN's fourth run of the game. One of the quickest names on the Matador roster, he sprinted towards home, wisely sliding around the attempted tag from Gaucho catcher Dan Camou.
Instead of scoring the Matadors' fourth run of the game, the centerfielder was called out on the play, much to the dismay of the Matador dugout and fans in attendance who thought their centerfielder successfully avoided the catcher's glove and touched the plate.
Rather than let the frustrations of that play affect their efforts in the subsequent innings, Northridge was able to keep their composure and scored in the following inning.
With Pineda reaching second on a two-base error, Decater nearly tied the game at five apiece with one swing of the bat. Only inches away from hitting his fifth home run of the season over the fence in right field, Decater had to settle for a well-hit double and his 21st RBI of the season instead.
By scoring another run in the seventh, Northridge reduced the Gaucho lead to a 5-4 margin. Unfortunately for CSUN, that would be closest the team would get to eliminating UCSB's advantage as they scored another three runs in the eighth to bolster their lead to 8-4; numbers that would eventually turn out to become the final results of the day's competition.
After winning their weekend series, CSUN will now have the next four days to prepare for their next Big West series as they continue their road trip with a stop in Riverside this upcoming weekend.
Friday's game against the UC Riverside Highlanders will begin at 6 p.m.
Matadors 020 010 100 - 4 11 3
UCSB 100 310 03x - 8 14 3
Win - Meaux, J. (7-3) Loss - Juarez (2-5) Save - Meals, D. (3)
T - 3:38 A - 321