May 18, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Returning to his hometown, albeit for one game, Cal State Northridge (25-23) second baseman Ryan Pineda helped the Matadors score three runs in the first inning, creating a lead that CSUN would not relinquish throughout the remainder of the game.
In addition to Pineda's swing, Northridge would score another four runs in the top of the fifth inning, bringing a victorious end to their season-high seven-game road trip with their 11-8 effort over the UNLV Rebels (27-24).
The round-tripper was Pineda's second in the last three games played at Earl E. Wilson Stadium as he blasted one over the fence in last season's series finale that took place on April 29.
With the victory, CSUN completed the season sweep over the Rebels, and now return to the friendly confines of Matador Field for their next five games. Starting with a Big West weekend series against Long Beach State this Friday, the Matadors will play back-to-back non-conference games against San Diego and UC Riverside (a Big West opponent, however the game is scheduled as a non-conference contest) before finishing the season on the road at Cal State Fullerton.
Northridge started on a strong note Tuesday afternoon when Pineda scored the first three runs of the game with his opposite-field home run in the top of the first inning.
Also scoring on Pineda's team-high 14th long-ball of the season were Drew Muren and C.J. Belanger who reached base on a hit-by-pitch and single respectively. The Las Vegas native is now tied with Cal State Fullerton's Christian Colon for the highest total of home runs hit this season amongst all Big West baseball players.
UNLV would score a run in both the first and second inning to decrease the CSUN lead to one run at 3-2, only to see the Matadors score another run in their half of the fourth inning thanks to a double by Alex Muren.
As was the case in the first inning, the Rebels responded by scoring another run in the bottom part of the same inning, returning the Matador lead to a solitary run once again.
Undaunted, the Matadors returned to the batter's box in their half of the fifth, responded to UNLV's successful scoring opportunity with one of their own by adding another four runs on the scoreboard to increase their lead to 8-3.
Earning first base the hard way thanks to another hit-by-pitch thrown by UNLV starter Stephen Singer, Drew Muren would advance to third when Belanger hit a double to the gap in left-centerfield. With first base unoccupied, UNLV decided to intentionally walk Pineda to load the bases, and chose to take their chance with D'Anna.
CSUN's clean-up batter would make UNLV pay dearly for their choice as the first baseman emptied the bases with a double down the left field line, increasing the Matador lead at that point to 7-3.
A fly out to centerfield from Brad Decater advanced D'Anna another 90 feet; a crucial play during the inning's events as a fielding error by UNLV's third baseman allowed DeMarco to reach base, and D'Anna to score the fourth and final run of the frame. Had the third baseman made the play, the inning would have ended, and only three runs would have crossed the plate.
The Matador shortstop also turned in an impressive performance against the Rebels, finishing 3-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored.
UNLV would make things interesting during the latter portion of the game with their three-run effort in the bottom of the seventh inning, trimming the Matador lead to 9-6.
CSUN would add two additional insurance runs in the top of the ninth when both Alex Muren and Reed hit their first triples of the season to help secure an 11-8 win.
Had Alex Muren hit a home run against the Rebels, he would have been the first Matador in 12 years to hit for the cycle. However, the freshman had one of his most productive games of the season against UNLV, helping the Matadors snap a four-game losing streak in the process.
Matadors 300 141 002 - 11 14 1
UNLV 110 100 300 - 8 13 1
Win - Juarez (3-6) Loss - Singer (1-7) Save - None
T - 3:30 A - 306