April 26, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - For the second straight day, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (17-25, 4-11 BWC) dropped a close game to the UC Riverside Highlanders (24-13, 5-7 BWC), this time by the score of 2-0, despite Billy Ott turning in one of his best starts of the season.
Ott surrendered only six hits and two runs while going the distance for the Matadors. The Northridge right-hander is the first Matador pitcher to throw a nine inning complete game this season and he did so in spite of a rough first few innings.
In the top of the first, the Highlander's first two batters reached base on a pair of singles off the bats of Carl Uhl and Brian McConkey. With the most dangerous Highlander batter up next in Michael Hur, Ott through a pitch that was just out of the reach of catcher John Parham that allowed Uhl and McConkey to each move up a base. Unstirred by the scoring threat, Ott struck out Hur swinging for the first out. Unfortunately for Ott, the next batter, Ryan Goetz, would hit a groundball to third base that gave Uhl enough time to score the game's first run. Ott would prevent any more damage by retiring Robert Brantly on a weakly hit groundball to second base.
After a scoreless second, UC Riverside would score their second run on a similar play in the third. With Uhl on third with one out, Ott forced Hur to groundout to short. However, the groundball gave Uhl the opportunity to score from third to give UC Riverside a 2-0 advantage.
Ott though would settle down after the third, as he would hold UC Riverside scoreless for the next six innings including retiring eight straight batters at one point. The Highlanders would only combine for three singles off Ott from the fourth inning on. In the game, he allowed only six singles and struck out five Highlanders.
The complete game is the second for any Matador pitcher this season with Ryan Juarez earning the first in a 1-0 loss to Long Beach State (4/17).
For the Matador hitters, they were unable to get much off Highlander starter Paul Applebee all afternoon. Applebee only allowed four hits in his 8.1 innings pitched for his sixth win of the season.
The Matador's only serious offensive threat came in the last of the ninth. Shortstop Jason Dabbs led off the frame with a line shot down the left-field line for a double. After first baseman Richard Cates flied out to left for the first out, right fielder Ryan Pineda stepped up next and hit a slow dribbler to the right side that nether first baseman Hur nor second baseman Bryan Horst could field cleanly.
With two on and one out, Parham stepped to the plate looking for yet another clutch ninth inning hit. The Matador catcher has two walk-off hits currently on the season. Parham instead would make a productive out by advancing both Dabbs and Pineda 90 feet by grounding out to third.
With both runners in scoring position with two outs, Brian Slover set his sights on contributing with his bat rather than his talented arm. Slover has five saves as the Matadors closer but on Sunday he was the designated hitter.
Highlander closer Joseph Kelly though would put an end to the Matador rally by retiring Slover on a groundball to short for his eighth save of the season.
Cal State Northridge will now have one day to prepare for a two game series against the UNLV Rebels in Las Vegas beginning on Tuesday. The Matadors swept the Rebels in a two game series at Matador Field by the scores of 5-1 (3/31) and 9-4 (4/1). First pitch for Tuesday's game is scheduled for 7:00pm.
Baseball fans can follow all of the action live on their computer at www.GoMatadors.com on GameTracker.
UC Riverside 101 000 000 - 2 6 0
Cal St.Northridge 000 000 000 - 0 5 1
Win- Applebee (6-2) Loss- Ott (1-3) Save- Kelly (8)
T- 2:06 A-364