May 13, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Early runs and late errors cost the Cal State Northridge Matadors (20-28, 3-13 Big West) in a 9-2 loss to the UC Riverside Highlanders (24-19, 7-9 Big West) on Friday afternoon at Matador Field.
Senior Ridge Carpenter, and juniors Andrew Muren and Matthew Moreno each recorded two hits for the Matadors, who were stumped all game long by Highlander starting pitcher Matt Andriese (7.0 IP, 8 hits, two unearned runs, six strikeouts).
UC Riverside got off to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Northridge starter Vincent Roberts (1-6). After a leadoff double by Trevor Hairgrove, Roberts set down the next two hitters in order. Tony Nix came up for the Highlanders and with a 2-2 count hit a fly ball to left field that narrowly evaded the glove of a leaping Carpenter, who was not able to save it from being a home run.
The Matadors had trouble putting across runs in the first few innings, despite notching two hits with two outs in both the first and second innings.
UC Riverside added a third run in the top of the third inning with one out. Following a single by Hairgrove, two batters walked to load the bases and Nix hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate the run.
Muren was the spark for the Northridge offense in the home half of the third after he chopped an infield single over the pitcher's head and stole second with one out. Catcher Marty Bowen walked, and on ball four Muren advanced to third base on a passed ball. Designated hitter Adam Barry brought Muren in with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Matadors came up with a key defensive play in the top of the fourth as Bowen and second baseman TS Reed combined to catch a UCR runner at home on a delayed steal attempt as Reed cut off a throw and returned fire to Bowen at the dish with runners at first and third.
Northridge was able to cut the deficit to a single run at 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Miles Williams led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second as the centerfielder booted the ball toward left center. Williams later advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Reed laid a suicide squeeze bunt down the third base line.
A combination of timely Highlander hits and Matador errors in the top of the eighth effectively put the game out of reach for Northridge as six runs scored in the inning.
With runners on first and second and one out, Justin Shults singled to center field to score the runner from second. On the play, Ryan Goetz scored from first as the throw in to third base from Muren in the outfield was errant and Shults scored on the subsequent throw home by relief pitcher Jacob Petersen that went wide of the target. Shults was officially credited with a single and an RBI, scoring on two errors as three runs came across for UC Riverside.
Three more Highlanders came around to score on singles off of Petersen and Harley Holt to put the final margin at 9-2.
Carpenter finished the day 2-for-5 at the plate, Muren went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, and Moreno had two hits in four at-bats in his best offensive showing as a Matador.
The series will continue on Saturday, May 14 at Matador Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.