March 24, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Even though the Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-13) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning, the Loyola Marymount Lions (13-12) were able to regroup and string together a come-from-behind effort to defeat the Matadors 12-9 Tuesday afternoon.
Both teams combined for four home runs and 23 hits on the afternoon as the Matador bats caught fire early before the host Lions were able to battle back to regain the lead; an advantage that was never given up for the remainder of the contest as Northridge was able to tie the game on two separate occasions before the Lions created a deficit too large for Northridge to overcome.
CSUN erupted for four runs on five solid hits in the first and immediately put LMU on their heels to open up the game. After C.J. Belanger drew a walk, John Parham doubled to left-field to put himself and Belanger in scoring position.
Richard Cates soon emptied the bases with his single up the middle of the infield to drive home the first two runs of the game.
Chris Hannick drove in the final run of the inning on his single to drive home D'Anna.
After LMU regrouped and recovered from the early Matador scoring spree, the Lions responded by putting five runs on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning; a frame highlighted by two home runs hit by Kyle Spraker which barely cleared the Fenway Park-like "blue monster" in left field and Josh Bryant that cleared the fence in left-centerfield.
The initial one-run lead would be short lived, however, as Justin DeMarco hit his second home run of the season on a 1-0 count to open up the second inning to left-centerfield, tying the game at 5-5.
LMU responded to the Matador's counterattack in the top of the second by scoring another two runs of their own to regain the lead off a fly ball to left field that was mistakenly lost in the sun. Had the catch been made, the inning would have ended; instead two Lions were able to score to give their squad the lead once again.
As the afternoon progressed, the sun would become a more prominent factor as umpires and players along the left side of the diamond would need to squint and use their sunglasses and/or glove to even get a clear look at the action taking place on the field.
After the Matadors gave up an additional four runs in the bottom of the fourth due to an error, a walk, and four singles, Pineda hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth that landed in almost the exact same location as DeMarco's home run in the second to trim LMU's lead to 11-8.
The lead would decrease to only two runs just before the seventh-inning stretch as Cates scored once again on a D'Anna ground out after reaching base on a single of his own, taking second base once Pineda drew a walk, and took third on a failed pickoff attempt by Lions pitcher Jeremy Burrell that sailed into centerfield instead of finding the glove of his shortstop, the intended target.
It would be the closest that the Matadors would get to eliminating LMU's advantage as they responded once again with another run of their own in their half of the seventh to bring the score to its eventual 12-9 result.
Northridge now has the next two days off to make their final adjustments in preparation for their weekend series against the Gauchos. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Both weekend games will take place at 1:00 p.m., fans can enter Sunday's game for free by bringing in any three canned food items with them to Matador Field to receive their complimentary admission with all proceeds benefitting the Children's Hunger Fund.