March 22, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Matadors salvaged what they could after dropping the first three games of a four-game set with Loyola Marymount, establishing a new season standard with 20 hits in a 10-4 win in Saturday's doubleheader nightcap. All nine Northridge starters got into the hit column, and Billy Swanson had a breakout day, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored while playing excellent defense in center field.
In game one, the Matadors had the score knotted at two in the third after an RBI single in the second and a John Parham solo shot in the third, but a three-run fourth for Loyola Marymount gave the Lions as big a lead as they needed. They added a run in each of the following four innings and snuffed out Northridge rallies in the sixth and the seventh to secure the victory to move to 11-10.
Eight of nine Northridge starters banged out hits, led by Richard Cates and Jowen-James Murray-Thornton, who each managed two knocks. Murray-Thornton smacked a double and a triple to lead the Northridge offense. Drew Muren and Murray-Thornton joined DeMarco and Parham as Northridge players with RBI.
In the second half of the twinbill, the Matadors surrendered the early lead to LMU in the top of the first, but got the run back in the bottom of the frame and didn't look back, expanding the lead in the second and busting the contest open in the fifth, ultimately opening and keeping a 10-3 lead.
In the first, it was Muren setting the table with a one-out double and coming around on a Parham single. Swanson put himself aboard on a bunt single and later scored on a TS Reed ground out to put Northridge in the lead. They added a run in the fourth when Swanson, aboard via a leadoff double, came around on a Reed single.
The Northridge attack exploded in the fourth when they got the big inning that they were seeking all week. Parham smacked a leadoff home run to put Northridge even further out in front, and after a Cates single, Ryan Pineda and Jowen-James Murray-Thornton were plunked in succession to load the sacks. Chris Hannick very nearly smacked a grand slam in his turn, but it instead went as sac fly to the center field warning track that advanced all three runners. Billy Swanson followed with a two-RBI single, and Northridge had leaped to a five-run lead. Swanson again tallied an RBI in the seventh with a sac fly that scored Murray-Thornton, and in the eighth, Pineda and Jeff Pruitt each scored RBI singles, pushing the lead to 10-3, which proved to be the final count.
The Matadors reached 20 hits for the first time since 2006, when they used 21 knocks to down UC Davis on May 6th at Matador Field.
The Lions spent about four hours over .500, and likewise, Northridge spent about four hours below .500. At the end of the day, both sides evened their ledger, either LMU going to 11-11 and Northridge to 10-10.
The series was the final seasoning for the matadors before conference play. They travel to Santa Barbara Friday for their annual three-game engagement with the Gauchos, who currently reside at 12-7.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday from Cesar Uyesaka Stadium in Santa Barbara, and if you can't make it to the game, log on to GoMatadors.com and listen to Sam Farber on the live call right here on the Home of the Matadors, GoMatadors.com.