May 23, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - By scoring runs in six of eight innings, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (28-23, 9-12 BWC) completed their weekend sweep with a 10-8 victory over the visiting Long Beach State 49ers (22-29, 7-14 BWC).
Both teams combined for 18 runs and 30 hits as the Matadors won a shootout in front of an emotional crowd at Matador Field Sunday afternoon.
Prior to the start of the game, C.J. Belanger, Jason Dabbs, Bryan Longpre, Jimmy Jolicoeur, Billy Ott, and Billy Swanson were honored for their achievements both on and off the diamond as the group of graduating seniors competed in the final Big West Conference game of their respective collegiate careers.
Making sure their final game would be one to remember, Belanger wasted no time in helping his team take a first-inning lead for the third consecutive game when he hit his fourth home run of the season over the fence in right field to help CSUN take a 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, a double by Alex Muren, a single by Ridge Carpenter, a walk drawn by Justin DeMarco, a RBI groundout by Dominic Piazza, a sacrifice fly by TS Reed, and a single to left field by Drew Muren would add another three runs to CSUN's lead.
The Matadors would replicate their three-run effort once again in the bottom of the fourth inning as CSUN would eventually load the bases for Belanger to take advantage of.
With two outs in the inning, Belanger and Ryan Pineda would hit back-to-back singles to drive home the Matador baserunners and extend their lead to 7-0.
It was then when Long Beach made things a bit interesting as they were able to score five runs on seven hits in their half of the fifth inning, chopping CSUN's lead down to only two.
Northridge would respond and score a run of their of in the bottom half of the same inning when Reed drove in Carpenter for the second of three RBIs that the shortstop would earn throughout the afternoon.
Each team would continue to take turns scoring runs as the game progresses as the 49ers added another run in sixth to decrease the CSUN lead back to its previous two-run cushion.
That advantage would grow to a sizable four-run cushion when the Matadors scored one run in both the seventh and eighth innings to take a 10-6 lead into the final inning of the weekend.
Having lead for the first eight inning, 49er right-fielder Jonathan Jones would hit a two-run home run to slice the Matadors' lead in half, creating some late-inning momentum for his team as they narrowly trailed CSUN by two runs for the third time in the game.
With 49er fans cheering on their team, and the Matador faithful not only backing up their squad, but vociferously debating the home run call that could have gone either way as the ball sailed over the foul pole in left field, leaving everyone in attendance waiting for the eventual outcome of Jones' swing.
Unfazed by what was transpiring around him, Jolicoeur successfully swung all the energy and emotion emanating from the crowd towards his dugout once recorded three quick outs to earn his fourth save of the season.
The senior right-hander not only leads the team with four saves, but now occupies 10th place with three former Matador pitchers for the most saves earned in a season, and is tied for fifth place all-time with seven career saves.
Entering the game from the bullpen in the fifth inning, right-hander Paul Tremlin picked up his team-high seventh win of the season once Jolicoeur successfully earned his save.
With the game bookended by stellar performances by members of the 2010 senior class, every Matador fan in attendance was excited to have the final conference game of their collegiate career end on a successful note.
In addition, Northridge earned their first conference sweep since their three-game triumph in Stockton over the Pacific Tigers during the 2004 season, successfully earned their first Big West weekend sweep at Matador Field since 2002 when they defeated the UC Irvine Anteaters, and won their first weekend series over Long Beach State since winning two of three games in 2006.
Led by Belanger and Reed's three-RBI effort, five different Matadors drove in a run in the series finale, with eight of nine starters earning at least one hit on the afternoon.
The Matadors' five-game homestand will continue on Monday afternoon when CSUN welcomes the #15-ranked San Diego Toreros in their series finale. Having defeated the top-ranked Toreros in San Diego earlier in the year, the Matadors will look to earn their second sweep over a 2010 opponent in as many days.
First-pitch for Monday's game will take place at 3 p.m.
Long Beach State 000 051 002 - 8 13 0
Matadors 130 310 11X - 10 17 1
Win - Tremlin (7-6) Loss - Magallon (1-2) Save - Jolicoeur (4)
T - 3:39 A - 351