May 16, 2010
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (24-23, 6-12 BWC) battled back to score three runs against the UC Riverside Highlanders (28-19, 10-8 BWC) Sunday afternoon, but it was not enough to negate a six-run, first-inning effort by the host Highlanders.
Defeated by a score of 9-3, Northridge will have one day to rest and prepare for the final game of their season-long, seven-game road trip at UNLV this Tuesday.
Riverside jumped out to an early 6-0 lead after one inning of play, forcing the Matadors the play catch-up from the start of the afternoon.
Northridge began to whittle away at the lead in the top of the second thanks to C.J. Belanger's fifth triple of the season. The right-fielder would score moments later when the very next batter, Brad Decater, lined a shot through Highlander starter Matt Larkin's legs into centerfield, allowing Belanger to score easily from second.
The triple was the second one hit by the senior during the weekend, tying him for second place all-time with Scott Richardson (1990-92) and his 14 triples hit during his respective time on-campus.
After Riverside gained that one run back on a solo home run hit in the bottom of the third to regain their initial six run lead, Matador catcher Dominic Piazza drove in Decater from second on a successful hit-and-run to drop UCR's lead back to five runs. Decater originally reached base on a walk and advanced to second on a Larkins wild pitch.
No sooner had Northridge scored a run in the top of the fourth, the HIghanders would respond once again by scoring another two runs to push their lead to a game-high seven runs at 9-3.
With his sacrifice fly to left field in the top of the eighth, Belanger drove in Pineda for the third, and final Matador run of the afternoon.
Pineda initially reached base on a single to right field, stole second base, and advanced to third on Dominic D'Anna's fly out to centerfield before scoring on Belanger's second sacrifice fly of the year.
Belanger was not the only Matador who climbed up an all-time top-ten list during Sunday's game as Ryan Pineda also advanced one position with his double down the left-field line in the third inning. The second baseman now has 42 career doubles, tying him with Michael Paulk (2003-05) for ninth place in the Matador record books.
After competing in 15 consecutive conference games, Northridge will now travel to Las Vegas to close out their season series with the UNLV Rebels. Scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, that match-up will also double as the final non-conference road game of the 2010 season for CSUN.
Matadors 010 100 010 - 3 8 2
UC Riverside 601 200 00x - 9 13 1
Win - Larkins (6-3) Loss - Juarez (2-6) Save - None
T - 2:40 A - 271