May 14, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Six runs in the top of the seventh inning spelled the difference as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (20-29, 3-14 Big West) wound up on the wrong side of an 8-2 decision to the UC Riverside Highlanders (25-19, 8-9 Big West) in a Big West Conference game at Matador Field on Saturday afternoon.
The six-run inning was the second in two days for the Highlanders, and gave them an 8-0 lead in the late stages of the game.
UC Riverside scored a run in the top of the first inning against the Matadors for the second day in a row when Tony Nix hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Ryan Goetz with two outs.
The Matadors were able to put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the second with one out but could not tie the game. After Adam Barry recorded the first Northridge hit with a one-out single, Tommy Simis singled through the left side but the next two hitters struck out to end the inning with two left on base.
The game threatened to get away from the Matadors early on had it not been for timely defensive stops behind starter Paul Tremlin (2-5). In both the third and fourth innings, UC Riverside had runners on base with one out before Tremlin induced ground balls to start inning-ending double plays.
Northridge saw a runner advance to third with two outs in the bottom of the third but could not score. After Ridge Carpenter singled, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, Andrew Muren was hit by a pitch but catcher Marty Bowen was set down to end the inning.
The Highlanders extended their lead to 2-0 in the top of the fifth following a leadoff double by Vince Gonzalez and a sacrifice bunt from Bart Steponovich. With one out, Phil Holinsworth hit a sacrifice fly to score Gonzalez from third.
The Northridge defense saved more runs from scoring in the top of the sixth on a stellar assist from freshman Miles Williams. With runners on first and second and two outs, Ryan Juarez came in to relieve Tremlin (5.2 IP, 2 ER) and gave up a single to right field. Williams charged the ball and fired home to Bowen, who tagged out Justin Shults trying to score to end the inning.
The big inning for UC Riverside came, however, in the top of the seventh. Five straight singles for the Highlanders off of Juarez scored two runs and loaded the bases with no outs. Joshua Goossen-Brown replaced Juarez and gave up a two-run single to give UCR a 6-0 lead. A fifth run scored on a fielder's choice when Goossen-Brown fielded a comebacker and tried to throw the runner out at the plate. The final run in the inning came across when TS Reed tried to turn a double play but threw wide of first, allowing a runner to score from third on the play.
The Matadors were able to break onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth inning as first baseman Chris Allen hit a double to left center with one out. Muren followed with a double that hit off the top of the wall in right center, missing a home run by mere inches. After a groundout that advanced Muren to third, Adam Barry was hit by a pitch and Tommy Simis singled to score the run and put the deficit at 8-2.
Both Justen Gorski and Shawn Wilyman pitched scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Matadors to end the game. In addition to his plays in the outfield, Williams also had two hits at the plate, both singles, for his second career multi-hit game.
Muren finished the day 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored and was also hit by a pitch. Carpenter reached base three times (single, two walks) and stole his team-high 15th base of the year and Simis notched two hits and an RBI in four at-bats.
The series will wrap up with an afternoon contest on Sunday, May 15 at 1 p.m. at Matador Field. The projected starting pitchers are Carlos Gonzalez, Jr. (CSUN) and Trevor Frank (UCR).