Matadors Rally from Early Deficit to Defeat USC 7-4
May 9, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (19-29) erased an early 4-0 USC Trojans (23-24) lead by scoring seven unanswered runs en route to a 7-4 win Saturday afternoon at Matador Field, giving starter Ryan Juarez his fifth win on the season.
The afternoon did not look promising at the outset of the game with Juarez giving up all four runs before the Matador hitters could take to the plate.
Juarez allowed the first six Trojan hitters to reach base on four hits. The Matador starter then began to change his luck when he induced USC designated hitter Beau Brett into a 4-6-3 double play. Now brimming with confidence, the Northridge right-hander struck out third baseman Billy Pinkerton to end the threat.
Despite the rally finally ending, the Matador hitters had the unenviable task of trying to rally against the Trojan's ace, right-handed starter Brad Boxberger.
Coming into Saturday afternoon, Boxberger had a 2.76 ERA along with 84 strikeouts, but the Matador hitters seemed to not be intimidated by his terrific numbers.
C.J. Belanger led off the bottom of the first with a scorching double down the right field line. Jason Dabbs next drew a walk, with ball four getting by the Trojan catcher Hector Rabago, giving Belanger enough time to head to third. Richard Cates then succeeded in bringing in Belanger home by hitting a groundball.
With two outs and nobody on, Boxberger looked as though he would get out of the frame with no more damage, instead Ryan Pineda drove another hard-hit double down the left field line.
With Pineda in scoring position, John Parham stepped to the plate and delivered a clutch two out base hit bringing the Matadors to within a 4-2 score.
In the third inning, Parham would see a similar scenario as he was up in the batters box staring at a bases loaded with one out situation.
The senior again came through with a clutch single to left that scored Dabbs from third, pulling the Matadors one run closer.
In the fourth, the Matadors again had Boxberger on the ropes. With Tommy Simis at second and two away, Belanger hit his second double to right field to tie the game at 4-4.
The next inning, the Matadors would complete the comeback by taking their first lead of the game. Cates led off the frame with a single off Trojan reliever Chad Smith. He then swiped second for his fifth stolen base of the season. After Ryan Pineda popped out, Parham stepped to the plate determined to deliver again. Unfortunately for USC, Smith could not contain Parham as the Matador co-captain hit yet another single to center field, scoring Cates and giving the Matadors a 5-4 lead.
On the day, Parham went 3-for-3, raising his average to .263, and with his 3 RBIs he now has 24 runs batted in, which is fourth on the team.
The Matadors would tack on two insurance runs in the seventh, with Pineda bringing in his team-leading 36 RBI with a double that scored Cates. Two batters later, Brian Slover would bring home Pineda with a single to right for his sixth RBI on the year.
Despite a tough first inning, Juarez only allowed three singles after the first and retired seven of the final nine batters he faced.
Juarez would earn his fifth win of the year after the Matador bullpen shut down the Trojan offensive completely in the latter innings.
Jimmy Jolicoeur relived Juarez in the seventh and retired all five batters he faced including striking out a pair.
P.J. Rousey was then called on to start the ninth and struck out the only batter he faced.
Slover then would relieve Rousey and secure the win for CSUN by recording two consectuive groundouts for his sixth save of the season.
With the 7-4 win, the Matadors are now 15-0 when leading after eight innings.
The two game series between the USC Trojans and the Cal State Northridge Matadors will conclude on Sunday afternoon. The Trojans will send RHP Robert Stock (3-3, 2.34 ERA) to the mound against the Matador's RHP Billy Ott (1-4, 5.57 ERA) with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 pm.
Baseball fans can follow all the action on-line via GameTracker, or listen to all the action live by visiting www.GoMatadors.com with Nick Bocanegra providing the play-by-play.
USC 400 000 000 - 4 8 1
Matadors 201 110 200 - 7 13 2
Win - Juarez (5-5) Loss - Smith (3-4) Save- Slover (6).
T - 3:01 A - 425