May 7, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
For the second day in a row the Matadors received a stellar pitching performance from their starter as Cal State Northridge defeated UC Santa Barbara 4-2 at Matador Field on Saturday for their first Big West Conference series win of the year. The victory improves Northridge to 20-25 overall and 3-11 in Big West play while the Gauchos fall to 19-21, 5-9.
In addition to six strong innings from starter Paul Tremlin, the Matadors benefitted from home runs by catcher Marty Bowen and designated hitter Steven Keller to secure their third victory this season against UC Santa Barbara in four attempts.
It looked like UCSB was going to blow the game open early as leadoff hitter Derek Eligio bunted to Tremlin, who threw errantly into right field and allowed Eligio to move up to third. Sean Williams followed with an RBI single to center field to give the Gauchos a 1-0 with no outs. Mark Haddow then walked to give UCSB runners on first and second.
The Matadors caught a break, however, as a ground ball provided a double play and Williams was forced to remain at second due to a runner's interference call on Haddow. Tremlin got the next hitter to foul out to end the inning with minimal damage.
Northridge nearly scored runs of their own in the bottom of the first after Chris Allen reached on an error, Andrew Muren walked and the pair advanced on a passed ball. The runs were not meant to be though as Gaucho starter Nick Capito (4-3) set down the next two on strikes to retire the side. In all, Capito struck out eight Matadors in 7.2 innings in a losing effort.
UC Santa Barbara nearly scored again in the top of the third after Eligio reached on a fielding error and advanced to second on a ground out. The next ball was hit deep in the hole at shortstop to Kyle Attl, who was able to throw behind Eligio rounding third to begin a rundown that resulted in Eligio being caught between third and home for the second out. A flyout ended the inning with no runs scored.
The Matadors broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth as Keller walked to bring up Bowen, who had just two extra-base hits coming into the game. On a 1-0 pitch, Bowen turned on a fastball high and launched it over the left field wall for his first homerun of the season to give CSUN a 2-1 lead.
The Gauchos tied the game in the top of the seventh inning after Ryan Juarez replaced Tremlin. After the first batter bunted out to third base, the bases were loaded on a walk, single and fielder's choice that did not result in an out. Eligio (2-for-4, one RBI) then singled through the left side of the infield to tie the game before Williams grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Northridge took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth on yet another long ball, this time by Keller. Senior Ridge Carpenter led off the inning with a double off the right center field wall and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Allen. A sharp ground ball by Muren was picked by the first baseman for UCSB and Carpenter had to stay at third with two outs. Then, on a 2-1 breaking pitch, Keller drove a ball well over the left field fence for a two-run home run, his second of the season. The runs gave the Matadors a 4-2 lead they would not relinquish.
Carpenter finished the game 2-for-4, Keller went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs, and Bowen went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored in the victory. Juarez (4-6) pitched the final 3.0 innings for Northridge to earn his fourth win of the season.
The series will concluded with an afternoon game on Sunday at Matador Field. The game will be played as "Strike Out Cancer Day," with Northridge players wearing pink shoes, eye black and shoe laces. All fans wearing pink will receive free admission.