April 8, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Northridge (13-14, 3-3) continued their season-long hit parade, but this time it wasn't enough to overcome defensive lapses and a potent UC Santa Barbara (22-9, 5-1) offense. The Matadors posted a four-run fourth and scored in the eighth to come within one, but went down in order in the ninth to end the comeback bid.
The Matadors got off to another rocky start in the first surrendering two runs after Gaucho leadoff man Brian Gump notched a single and stole second. Gump later scored on a Chris Fox ground out, and Eric Oliver would come around after back-to-back singles.
In the fourth, The gauchos expanded their lead, putting two men on for Fox, who doubled into the left-center field gap for a pair of RBI. Gump scored on a poor throw from Northridge catcher John Parham that went into left field.
The matadors were shut out through the first five innings and were held to just two hits and three baserunners in that span. They had threatened in the first, getting their first two hitters, TS Reed and Billy Swanson, aboard by singles, but then Gaucho starter Mike Martin settled down and retired the next 11 men he faced.
Martin did not last the fifth, though. After getting leadoff man Drew Muren swinging, three of the following four Northirdge hitters registered base knocks. The other, Justin DeMarco, sacrificed himself by bunting over C.J. Belanger. Parham walked to load the bases, setting the table for Richard Cates.
Cates did what he'd done all year: make something happen. He drove a single into right field that scored Reed and Swanson, upping his season RBI total to 30. The hit chases Martin and pinch hitter Chris Hannick greeted reliever Kyle Brown with a RBI single back through the box, narrowing the Gaucho lead to one.
The Gauchos doubled their advantage in the sixth when Gump tripled and was singled home by Fox.
Edwin Quirarte was called upon to extinguish a vulnerable situation in the eighth. Inheriting runners on first and second with no outs, Quirarte maneuvered through without allowing a runner to score, collecting a ground out, strike out, and another ground out to keep the Matadors within one.
Northridge got one back in the eighth. After Ryan Pineda singled to lead the inning off, he moved around on another Belanger knock and eventually scored on Reed's second RBI, a grounder that went as a fielder's choice.
Quirarte sat the Gauchos down in order in the ninth to give his offense a shot, but Jason Roenicke returned the favor, sitting the Matadors down 1-2-3 to nail down the 6-5 Gaucho win.
Cates became the fastest Matador in terms of games to reach 30 RBI in the last five seasons.
Eric Billings was charged with the loss and ran his record to 1-1.
Northridge gets back to Big West play Friday when they trek to Cal State Fullerton for the continuation of a long-standing historical series. The Titans have seen the better end of late and put a 13-game hit streak vs. the Titans on the line. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m.