Matadors Finish Off Win, But Drop Fourth of Four-Game Set

March 9, 2008

Box Score

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Chris Hannick expanded a Northridge lead in the eighth inning of yesterday's suspended game and Edwin Quirarte nailed down a 9-7 win, giving Cal State Northridge a 2-1 lead in their series over St. John's. Four errors in Sunday's scheduled game, however, opened the door for the Red Storm, which claimed game four with an 11-6 victory.

For the halted game, Richard Cates had left Northridge fans in suspense on Saturday evening, smacking a two-run triple to shoe the Matadors into the lead before darkness got the best of both sides and the game was halted. Cates had also made an incredible leaping catch to keep a Red Storm fly ball in the ballpark and save at least one run. When the game was suspended, Cates was the hero for a game not yet won.

Hannick stepped up and smacked a single up the middle, scoring Cates and giving Northridge a two-run lead, which Edwin Quirarte preserved with a scoreless ninth.

The regularly scheduled game got under way at 12:45 and the Matadors greeted it with more potent offense. Northridge pounded its way to two first-inning runs, the result of another RBI triple for Richard Cates and a John Parham sacrifice fly. The Johnnies, however, erased the lead in the third with two of their own and jumped into the lead with a three-run fourth. In the fifth, Billy Swanson came just a few feet shy of a home run and had to settle for a double to the right field wall. Swanson later scored on a C.J. Belanger sacrifice bunt. Cates chipped away with a solo home run in the sixth, putting the St. John's advantage at just one.

The Storm hit in the seventh, though, and St. John's exploded for six runs. Five walks and just three hits fueled the St. John's onslaught, and two Matador runs in the seventh were only enough to stem the bleeding. John Parham notched a two-run single that was good for narrowing the Johnnies' lead to five and also for continuing his now ten-game hit streak.

In total, the day's action added a win to Eric Billings' resume, a save to Quirarte's, and also a loss to Drew Muren's ledger. Cates climbed to 19 RBI, three triples, and two home runs, and Parham extended his career-long hit streak.

Cal State Northridge finished it's record 13-game season-opening home stand at 7-5, making it two consecutive seasons that the squad has been over .500 this late in the year. The Matadors head to Southern Miss Friday over the first half of a for-game set at Hattiesburg, two of which will be against Liberty and two of which will be at the host Golden Eagles. An early departure on Thursday will have the Matadors in the south for the first weekend series since visiting Arkansas in 2006.

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