March 8, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Chris Hannick smashed his first two collegiate home runs and John Parham was 3-for-3, but the Matadors dropped the first half of their doubleheader with St. John's on Saturday. The second game made it into the eighth before it was called due to darkness.
Parham's performance made it nine straight games with a hit, the longest streak for a Matador this season. Ryan Pineda also continued an impressive seven-game stretch with a base hit.
The Red Storm scored first, pushing across four unearned runs in the third to take a lead by that margin.
The Matadors first got on the board witch Hannick's opposite field blast. They added another run in the third when Parham and Matt Warr hit back-to-back doubles, with Warr getting the RBI and Parham crossing the dish. They were back on the board in the fifth when Parham knocked in a run with another double and in the sixth, Hannick sent one out of the yard in left field. The blast evened the ledger at four heading into the seventh.
Things began to unravel for Phil Hann and the Matadors in the seventh. Three of the first four batters Hann faced reached in that frame, with the last knocking in two with a double. Hann was lifted in favor of Pete Mendez, who surrendered an RBI single before inducing consecutive fly outs to right fielder Billy Swanson. The Storm added one in the eighth and two more in the ninth to seal up the 10-4 win.
In game two, found themselves trailing by four in the third again, and again, they turned the tide in their favor in the bottom of that frame. This time, TS Reed laced a double in to the left field corner to get things going, and Pineda brought him home on a sac fly later in the inning.
The Johnnies added two in the fourth to open up a five-run lead, but Northridge answered again. In the fifth, Pineda clutched up again and brought in C.J. Belanger on an RBI double. The sixth brought more offense from Northridge, which hung a three on the board in that frame. Chris Hannick was waked to open the inning, and Warr greeted relief pitcher Matt Tosoni by pounding his first offering into the field beyond the left field fence. Justin DeMarco raced his way aboard with a bunt single and later scored on a Belanger fielder's choice, narrowing the Red Storm lead to one.
In the eight, St. John's got the insurance run it was seeking, putting Northridge into a two-run hole heading into the bottom half of the eighth. With the shadows having already enveloped the field, and with St. John's closer Colin Lynch on the hill, the Matadors went to work. DeMarco started things off with a leadoff single and was followed by a walk of Billy Swanson. TS Reed offered himself up on a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and C.J. Belanger reached on a fielder's choice that cost the Matadors their lead runner. C.J. Belanger advanced on a passed ball, forcing the Storm to walk Pineda behind him.
After the intentional walk, Richard Cates smacked a triple into the left field alley, clearing the bases and vaulting the Matadors into the lead. John Parham walked on four pitches, and frustration got the best of the Red Storm. Assistant coach Scott Brown leaped from the dugout with some strong words for umpire Mel Gatson, who immediately sent Brown to the showers. That action brought head coach Ed Blankmeyer on to the field, and after some heated discussion, the skipper was also dismissed. Outfielder Chris Anninos was also ejected after adding his opinion. The fracas also gave the officials reason enough to halt play for the afternoon.
The second game of the Saturday doubleheader will be resumed Sunday at noon. The Matadors will send John Parham to the plate with runners on the corners looking to extend a 9-8 lead. After the conclusion of that contest, the game regularly scheduled for Sunday afternoon will commence.
Tomorrow's action will stay at the scheduled start time of 12 p.m.