May 17, 2009

Matadors Rally in the Ninth to Defeat Pacific 10-9, Win Second Straight Series

May 17, 2009

Box Score

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (22-30, 6-15 BWC) scored eight times in the final three innings to erase two separate Pacific Tiger (19-31, 9-15 BWC) leads and secured their second straight series victory on Ryan Pineda's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth for a 10-9 win.

With Pacific leading 9-7 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Jeff Pruitt led off the frame with a walk followed by a hit by Richard Cates. Justin DeMarco would bring in Pruitt from second with an RBI single that pulled Northridge to within a 9-8 score.

John Parham capped off a three-hit day with another clutch swing that moved both Cates and DeMarco into scoring position.

With the bases full of Matadors and nobody out, Brian Slover patiently drew a walk that brought in the tying run from third.

The eighth pitcher of the afternoon for Pacific, Joey Centanni, was then called upon to attempt to cool the Matador bats. He got the first out of the inning on a groundball off the bat off C.J. Belanger but would not be as fortunate as the inning progressed.

The next batter up, Pineda, delivered a long fly ball to right field that gave Parham more than enough time to run home and score the deciding run.

Much of Sunday's game looked as it would take the shape of Saturday's 11-0 Pacific win over Northridge.

Pacific would erase an early Matador 2-0 lead on a three run third, followed by a single run in the fifth, and three more in the sixth for a 7-2 lead going into the seventh.

The Matadors though would show their poise and determination as they clawed their way back in the seventh with a barrage of timely hits in an effort to dig themselves out of a five-run deficit.

Pineda started off the seventh with a single to right. Two batters later, TS Reed reached first when a pitch by Tigers reliever Mark McCain hit his left arm. With two batters on and one out, the next four Matadors would all reach base as they were able to string together a number of hits.

A Pruitt single brought in one run followed by a Cates double that would bring in another. DeMarco then hit a line-drive through the middle of the infield that brought in two more runs. Parham then followed suit by hitting another single to right field that moved the tying run, DeMarco, to third base.

A fielding error by Tigers third baseman Mike Walker off the bat of Slover created the opportunity DeMarco needed to score the tying run.

Pacific would regain the lead in the top of the ninth on a two-run, one hit performance that, at the time, looked to be the decisive runs of the game.

The Matadors though would respond in their final at-bat with three runs that provided the perfect ending in the final home game played by the 2009 senior class.

Pineda drove in three runs on the day to increase his team-leading RBI total to 39 on the season.

In their final home game of their respective collegiate careers, Cates, Parham, P.J. Rousey, and Bryce Schoening were honored prior to Sunday's game with a special ceremony that highlighted their accomplishments during their time at Cal State Northridge.

Cates, Parham, and Rousey were each key contributors in the victory over Pacific. Cates went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Parham also went 3-for-5 and scored the winning run. Rousey pitched effectively out of the bullpen, retiring two of the three batters he faced to preserve his team's chance of winning.

The Matadors bullpen as a unit pitched lights-out baseball as Davin Tate, Rousey, Jimmy Jolicoeur, and Slover did not allow an earned run in their four combined innings; efforts that were needed to prevent Pacific from extending their lead.

The Matadors now take to the road for their final four games of the season. Their next game will be a non-conference match-up against Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday followed by the final Big West Conference series of the season at UC Davis this Friday through Sunday.

The start time for Tuesday's game will be 3:00 pm.

Pacific    003 013 002 -  9 11 1

Matadors 020 000 503 - 10 14 3

Win - Slover (4-3) Loss - Centanni (4-7)

T - 4:42 A - 187

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