April 22, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge (16-20, 4-8) posted its second shutout win in eight days, blanking UC Santa Barbara (27-12, 6-3) 7-0 in a non-conference match up Tuesday at Matador Field. Ryan Juarez, Eric Billings, and Paul Tremlin combined for the shut out.
Juarez had his best appearance of the year on the day. The redshirt freshman went five innings and surrendered just two hits and walked just two, earning the victory for the Matadors. Juarez retired the first six batters he faced before surrendering a single to the seventh man and went on to let just one man get to second in the first five frames.
The second pitcher, Billings, scattered two doubles but struck out three in his two innings, and Tremlin came on for the eighth and just one walk kept him from two perfect innings.
On the offensive side, Northridge seemed to find its rhythm after notching just five scores over the weekend. The first six men to go to bat against Gaucho starter Mike Martin were each retired, but the third inning brought success. Matt Warr led off with a single back through the box, Justin DeMarco got aboard with a walk, and TS Reed smacked a single into center field to load the bases. Billy Swanson followed with a two-run single into left field to put Northridge on the board.
In the fourth, the Matadors benefited from a throwing error that allowed Richard Cates to come around to score. In the seventh it was C.J. Belanger bunting himself aboard and being followed by Justin DeMarco, who became a Northridge record-holder with his 12th sac bunt of the year. Belanger would later score, as would TS Reed, who got an infield single.
DeMarco's sacrifice gave him sole possession of the single-season record for sacrifice bunts. He is one away from entering the career charts in a tie for seventh.
Two unearned runs would cross in the eighth on a Swanson RBI groundout and later on an RBI walk by Richard Cates, who was also plunked twice on the day.
The shutout win gave the Matadors three on the season, the most such victories since 2006.
Northridge also avoided some ignominious history. Prior to Tuesday, Northridge was 0-5 against UCSB in 2008. With the win, they avoided going 0-6 against one opponent in the same season.
The Matadors travel to UC Riverside Friday for a three-game set with the Big West defending champs. First pitch Friday is set for 7 p.m.