April 5, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Richard Cates hit a walk off double and Edwin Quirarte pitched very well for the second straight night, and the Matadors came away with a 3-2 win Saturday, overcoming four errors to do so. Phil Hann was exceptional through six and TS Reed and Billy Swanson joined Cates with two hits.
The game started towards a nail biter, with he Matadors' Phil Hanna and the Mustangs' Derrick Saito dueling to a shutout through three frames. In that span, Hann chalked up five strikeouts and allowed just one hit, a leadoff single in the third. In that frame, Hann struck out the next three batters he faced. Saito was also effective, allowing a leadoff single in the first before retiring the next eight batters he faced.
The next hit Saito would allow would be costly. The southpaw surrendered back-to-back singles to start the fourth. Billy Swanson got the first one, and he moved to third on John Parham's base knock. Swanson came home when Richard Cates smacked a sac fly into center field.
Hann's shut out ended in the sixth when, after getting the leadoff man, Logan Schaefer's double was followed by an RBI single off the bat of Brent Morel. Morel advanced to second on a wild pitch and cam around on a single and sac fly. Hann ultimately got Adam Melker on a ground out to end the inning, stranding Wes Dorrell at first. The pair of scores evened the ledger at two.
Hann's day was done after the two-run sixth, and he finished with six innings thrown having scattered four hits and two runs. Six strikeouts for Hann was the second-best total of the season for the senior right-hander.
In the seventh, it was Northridge reliever Bryce Schoening working into and out of a bases loaded situation, blanking the Mustangs for the frame.
In the bottom half, it was Northridge putting a man in position and coming away with nothing. C.J. Belanger pinch-ran for Chris Hannick after a leadoff walk and made his way to third on a Swanson ground out. After a Justin DeMarco strikeout, TS Reed dumped a single into right field and Belanger attempted to score from second. Mustang right fielder Ryan Lee came up gunning and his throw was on the mark, getting Belanger by a step.
Schoening stayed on for the eighth and complicated matters again. He got the leadoff man on a grounder to Reed at second but walked the second man he faced, which was all Head Coach Steve Rousey needed to see. The Northridge skipper went to the bullpen for his closer, Edwin Quirarte.
The junior right-hander sat down the first two batters he saw swinging, and cruised through the ninth as well with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to finish off the `Stangs.
The Matadors were equally ineffective at the plate over the final two frames, getting a man in position in the eighth but failing to push him across. Another zero in the ninth sent the game into extras.
Quirarte remained on the mound for the tenth and induced a leadoff ground ball that Reed fielded cleanly but couldn't convert, with his throw going awry. A sac bunt moved the runner to second and the next man walked, putting men on first and second. Quirarte came through again, however, getting another ground ball to second. Reed redeemed his earlier miscue, starting a 4-6-3 double play.
Northridge took advantage of some sloppy play in the bottom of the tenth to get their offense going. Reed struck out but got aboard when strike three bounced away from catcher Wes Dorrell, and Swanson reached when third baseman J.J. Thompson mishandled Swanson's sac bunt attempt. John Parham struck out looking, setting up Cates to play the hero. The junior delivered, smacking a ground rule double to bring in the winning run.
Quirarte figured into the decision for the second consecutive day, this time earning a win. He got the save on Friday after conserving a two-run lead late in the game.
Cates joined Reed and Swanson as Matador with multiple hits, and Cates was the only Northridge player to log an RBI; he had two.
It was the fewest runs the Matadors needed to win in 2008 and the victory clinched the Matadors' first Big West series win since 2005 and sets the up for their first sweep since 2004, when they took three from Pacific. Northridge hadn't won the first two of a Big West series since that series against the Tigers.
Northridge looks to close out the series on a high note on Sunday when they host the finale of their three-game set with Cal Poly. All the action starts at 1 p.m.