Feb. 20, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors (0-1) opened up the 2009 season with a bang Friday afternoon in their season opener against the Pepperdine Waves (1-0).
Senior outfielder Richard Cates broke up a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth inning with a blast to straightaway center field, giving the Matadors the lead going into the home half of the ninth.
The lead was short-lived however as the Waves hit two solo home runs of their own to come from behind and snatch the win away from the Matadors in the final moments of the game.
All runs scored by both teams were earned via the long-ball.
Throughout the first eight innings, it seemed as if both teams were trying to out-perform one another on the diamond, as sophomore Ryan Pineda opened up game by drilling a waist-high 88 MPH fastball off of Pepperdine’s Nathan Newman, a two-run home run that easily cleared the fence in left-center field in the fourth inning, giving CSUN an early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the same inning, Pepperdine evened up the score with a two-run shot of their own, the only blemish on the performance of Matador starting pitcher Ryan McCarney on the day.
The junior transfer gave up only six hits and two runs in his seven-inning debut for Northridge.
Whenever the Waves were able to get a runner on base, McCarney was able to pitch his way out of any danger as he struck out three batters, and limited the majority of the Wave’s lineup o only fly or ground balls.
Aiding McCarney were a number of highlight-quality diving saves by both first baseman Dominic D’Anna, and centerfielder Jeff Pruitt that kept the Matadors in the game in search for that one run that would give them back the lead.
Pruitt’s shoestring catch ended a Pepperdine rally in the seventh, while D’Anna’s clutch performance in the eighth helped spark CSUN’s bats in the following inning as Cates muscled a 1-0 pitch over the fence in the deepest part of the park to give CSUN the lead.
The lead would be a temporary one as Pepperdine’s Nate Simon hit his second home run of the game in the bottom-half of the ninth, a shot that mirrored the blast by Cates to center field, before the game ended only moments later with a walk-off shot that just cleared the yellow tape atop the left-center field wall.
Northridge opens up their home schedule tomorrow at Matador Field as they look to even up the series in a 1:00 p.m. match-up. Sophomore Ryan Juarez will take the mound for the Matadors and face Scott Alexander before the series returns to Malibu on Sunday.
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