May 15, 2010
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge (24-22, 6-11 BWC) second baseman Ryan Pineda would drive in his team-high 55th RBI of the season in the bottom of the eighth inning, but it would not be enough for Northridge as they were defeated by the UC Riverside Highlanders (27-19, 9-8 BWC) by a score of 4-1.
UC Riverside took an early 1-0 lead when designated hitter Justin Schultz hit a solo home run to right-centerfield in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Outside of that one pitch, Matador starter Justen Gorski pitched a strong game for Coach Rousey and his team during his 4.1 innings on the mound. For the second straight weekend, Gorski gave up only four hits to his opponents, and kept the Highlanders guessing throughout the evening before leaving the game with runners on first and second.
Riverside extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a series of at-bats that included three singles, a walk, and an error to increase their advantage on the scoreboard to a 4-0 margin.
Were it not for an outstanding play in the sixth inning by Pineda, the Highlanders could have extended their lead even further.
With a runner on second, and two outs in the inning, Highlander right fielder Joey Gonzales turned on a pitch, sending it through the right side of the infield - or so he thought. Utilizing every inch of his six foot frame, Pineda sprinted to his left towards the hole, made an outstanding dive to corral the ball into his mitt, rapidly jumped into the proper throwing position, and beat Gonzales to first base with his throw by a step to bring an end to the inning.
With the heart of the CSUN line-up due to bat in the top of the eighth, Northridge began their come-back effort when C.J. Belanger doubled down the left field line to put himself in scoring position. Moments later, Belanger touched home plate for the first CSUN run of the game on Pineda's single through the middle of the infield.
Earlier in the game, Belanger reached base by hitting his fourth triple of the season, and 14th of his career. With that swing of the bat, the senior outfielder stands alone in third place on CSUN's All-Time Record book as he entered the game tied with Jeff Gilbert (1974-77) and his 13 triples.
By scoring one run, CSUN was able to negate a potential shutout thrown by Highlander starter Dustin Emmons. Unfortunately for Northridge, it would be the only time that a Matador would score on the evening as the actions in the fifth would prove to be the difference between a potential extra-inning contest, and the 4-1 final score.
Belanger, Pineda, and Dominic Piazza all finished the game with two hits apiece, representing the six total hits earned by the Matadors on the evening.
The series finale between the Matadors and the Highlanders will take place Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. from the Riverside Sports Complex located across the street from the main campus. Fans that are unable to attend tomorrow's game can still follow all the action live via Live Stats or internet broadcast at GoMatadors.com.
Matadors 000 000 010 - 1 6 2
UC Riverside 010 030 00x - 4 9 1
Win - Emmons (7-4) Loss - Gorski (4-2) Save - None
A - 281 T - 2:28