April 7, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A two-run eighth inning by the Cal State Northridge Matadors (13-18) fueled a late-inning, come-from-behind effort against the USC Trojans (14-14) Tuesday evening, but the Matadors would fall short in the ninth as they suffered an 8-7 defeat at Dedeaux Field to wrap-up their four-game road trip.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Cal State Northridge Matadors took an early lead in the first inning as catcher John Parham reached base on his single through the middle of the infield before advancing to second on a wild pitch.
First baseman Dominic D'Anna followed Parham with a single through the infield of his own to drive in his teammate for the first run of the game.
That lead would be short lived, however, as the Trojans put three on the scoreboard in their half of the first inning to take the lead away from the Matadors.
Back-to-back triples from Trojans Mike O'Neill and Grant Green opened up the scoring for USC, with two singles off the bats of Anthony Vazquez and Ricky Oropesa completing the damage in the inning.
Undaunted from the action in the previous inning, the Matadors scored another run in the top of the second when centerfielder Jeff Pruitt made it completely around the diamond thanks to a single, a stolen base, a throwing error by the pitcher in attempt to pick him off at second, and a TS Reed single to right field.
No sooner had Northridge whittled down the Trojan advantage when USC responded with another two runs in their half of the second to actually stretch their original two-run lead to three.
The Trojan offense was not the only opponent the Matadors had to face during the initial innings of the game as the weather took a turn for the worse starting in the bottom of the second as sporadic showers made it difficult for the fans to even see the scoreboard in right field.
While not heavy enough to force a rain delay, the rain did make things more difficult for both teams as the host Trojans were forced to do double-duty as de facto groundskeepers in the fourth inning to keep the infield suitable for playing.
The 5-2 lead for USC shrank to only one run in the Matador's half of the fourth as a leadoff bunt by Reed jump-started the comeback effort for Northridge.
What looked to be a double play off the bat of Parham evolved into the Matador's initial scoring opportunity of the frame as Trojan pitcher Kevin Couture's throwing error allowed Reed to advance to third, and Parham to reach first on a fielder's choice.
Richard Cates' single to left field brought in the first run of the inning, followed by a D'Anna hit-by-pitch to load the bases for Northridge.
A sacrifice fly to deep centerfield from the bat of third baseman Jason Dabbs brought home Parham for the second run of the inning, decreasing the USC advantage to 5-4.
That advantage would dissipate the following inning due to a combination of aggressive base-running and Trojan throwing errors.
After both Jason Pruitt and Justin DeMarco reached base on back-to-back walks, Reed reached on a fielder's choice when Pruitt was thrown out at third.
An attempted pick-off of DeMarco at second base by Trojan catcher Hector Rabago went awry as his throw sailed into centerfield, allowing both DeMarco and Reed to advance one base.
On the same play, the centerfielder misplayed the ball and committed an error of his own, allowing the tying run to score and Reed to advance to third.
With the score all-squared at five apiece, the Trojans regained the lead once they took to the plate in the bottom of the fifth as a leadoff double was immediately followed by a two-run home run to give the home team the lead once again at 7-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Trojans would score another run to increase their lead to an 8-5 margin before Reed scored on a ground-rule double by pinch hitter Todd Eskelin to bring the score to 8-6.
Reed had advanced to third after initially reaching base on a single to left field and advancing to second on a Parham single to shallow left field.
CSUN lit up the scoreboard once again as Eskelin sprinted around the left-half of the diamond to score the second run of the inning on a Dabbs single to left field to keep the Matadors within striking distance with one set of at-bats left in the game.
But the comeback would fall just short as the Matadors were retired in-order to end the game.
Northridge now has a day off to prepare for a three-game series against the Cal State Fullerton Titans at Matador Field beginning Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.
Matadors 110 210 020 - 7 10 2
USC 320 020 10x - 8 12 6
Win - Cabral (1-1) Loss - Harper (0-4) Save Vasquez (1)
T - 3:42 A - 245