April 14, 2008

Matadors Have Momentum as They Host Long Beach State

April 14, 2008

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Schedule Notes Tuesday's action against UCLA will commence as follows:

The continuation of a previously suspended game will start at 4:30 p.m. The regularly scheduled game against UCLA will begin at 6:00 p.m. Please arrange your travel plans accordingly.

Northridge Ends Losing Streak to Titans Cal State Northridge lost big on Friday, surrendering at least two runs in each of the first five innings at Cal State Fullerton and being shutout at the hands of Titan starter Jeff Kaplan. Kaplan tossed a complete game shut out and claimed Big West Pitcher of the Week honors for his effort. On Saturday Northridge reversed the momentum under the lights, taking an early lead and holding tough despite falling behind 2-1. John Parham smacked an RBI single in the third to know the score at two and in the fifth, Chris Hannick smoked an RBI single of his own to put Northridge ahead for good, and the Matadors tacked on a run in the seventh for insurance.

On Sunday the Matadors fell behind big after just three innings. With the temperature gauge reading in the upper 90s, the Titans poured it on to the tune of 12 runs in the first three innings. The onslaught, combined with a handful of early pitching changes, had the game nearing the two hour mark in the bottom of the third.

The Matadors began to chip away in the fifth. Trailing 14-2, strung together four consecutive hits that were capped off with a three-run shot off the bat of Hannick. Northridge added two in the sixth on a run-scoring double from Parham and an RBI single from Richard Cates and got two more in the seventh on Hannick's second jack, a two-run blast that narrowed the score to 17-11.

In the eighth, Ryan Pineda and Drew Muren hit back-to-back singles to set the table for Hannick, who made it a hat trick with his third homer if the game.

The first two Matadors to come up in the ninth were retired, but Parham and Cates logged singles to bring the tying run to the plate and Pineda scorched a double into right field, putting the tying runner in scoring position. Muren bounced out to second to end the game.

Heroic Hannick Chris Hannick became the first Northridge player since 1997 to log three home runs in one game and tied the single-game standard with nine RBI in Sunday's loss to Cal St. Fullerton. For the weekend, Hannick was 6-for-11 with 11 RBI and three runs scored, doubling his season RBI total and giving him 22 on the year.

Give Me Five Lost in the shadow of Hannick's explosion were several other standout performances on Sunday. Parham in particular was outstanding. The junior catcher/outfielder was 5-for-6 with four runs scored and an RBI and two players besides Hannick had four hits. Cates was 4-for-6 with a trio of RBI and Ryan Pineda was 4-for-6 with three runs scored and an RBI.

Breaking the Streak The Matadors' 4-2 victory on Saturday broke a serious spell against the Titans. Previous to the win Cal State Fullerton had claimed the previous 15 contests dating back to 2003, Rousey's first year on the job. The last Northridge victory in the all-time series had come in Rousey's first game against Fullerton as the Matador skipper.

Instrumental for the Matadors was the one-two punch of starting pitcher Phil Hann and relief ace Edwin Quirarte. Hann continued what has been an outstanding senior campaign, going seven strong innings before handing off to Quirarte in the eighth. Quirarte logged a two-inning save, his fourth save of the year, and put his scoreless innings streak at 10.1 innings that span six appearances. Over the streak, Quirarte has surrendered only two hits and four walks while logging seven strikeouts.

Series Summary Northridge does not have an official result in the books against the Bruins in 2008, but come Tuesday, quite a task is at hand if Northridge is to avoid a loss. Currently, a game halted on February 26th has the Bruins leading 22-2 in the eighth inning and will be finished on Tuesday evening. UCLA will then host a regularly scheduled game at six p.m. Northridge still holds a 64-62 advantage in the all-time series despite a Bruin sweep in the 2007 weekend series and no starter has been announced on the Matador side. The Bruins turn to oft-used reliever Garret Claypool in hopes of securing a non-conference victory.

The Matadors were swept by the 49ers in Long Beach in 2007 and currently own the advantage in the all-time series at 58-53. Long Beach St. was on the slate in 1959 for the first season of baseball for San Fernando Valley State College (now Northridge). The result of the at game was a 12-4 Long Beach win.

Scouting the... Bruins: UCLA was rated as high as No. 1 nationally at the outset of the season but quickly dropped from the pole position within a few weeks. At the time of their first meeting with Northridge UCLA was ranked #3 in the nation. Leading the way offensively for the Bruins has been the double play combo of Alden Carrithers and Brandon Crawford. Carrithers is batting .405 with 16 extra-base hits and 32 RBI on the year and is the only Bruin with double-digit steals. Crawford isn't far behind at .333 and 13 extra-base hits, and Casey Haerther is the other Bruin hitting above .300.

49ers: The 49ers of Long Beach State were projected to finish atop the Big West Conference in 2008 by both the coaches and most national pundits and, after a solid start to the season, have stumbled a bit after a season-long 10-game road stretch in which the Dirtbags were 1-9. Since going 17-3 to start the year Long Beach is 2-11 for an overall mark of 19-14 and a conference record of 2-4.

Long Beach State is coming off a series loss to #6 UC Irvine and is looking forward to the return of a handful of players from injury. Leading the way for the Dirtbags has been Shane Peterson, the junior two-way player. Peterson boasts a .341 batting average and a team-best 12 doubles. Also on the top of many categories for Long Beach is Jason Corder, who is hitting .347 with nine home runs and 33 RBI.

On the mound, a trio of right-handers will take the hill for Beach. Andrew Liebel brings his 3-2 record at 2.30 ERA to the mound on Friday, Vance Worley follows on Saturday, and Jake Thompson will go on Sunday.

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