May 25, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge (24-32, 8-16) saw it happen last Sunday: strange things happen on Senior Day. It the Matadors' turn this time around, and Ryan Pineda sent the seniors off to the tune of a walk off solo shot that lifted the Matadors to a 6-5 victory over UC Davis (34-22, 13-11).
Home runs book ended the win, as John Parham started things off with a solo blast in the first. Sunday was the first time since the third game of the season that two Matadors had homered in the same game.
After the score in the opening frame, freshman hurler Drew Muren surrendered three runs over the second and third innings, highlighted by a Ryan Royster homer in the third. The Ags stranded five runners between the two innings.
Muren found his groove through the middle innings, retiring nine straight before an error in the sixth ended the run.
The Northridge offense caught up to the pitching in the sixth, when a leadoff walk of John Parham came back to bite the Ags. Parham worked around on a sacrifice and error before scoring on a Drew Muren single.
In the seventh, a Chris Hannick two-run single put Northridge out in front 4-3, and a wild pitch that scored Parham made it 5-3.
Bryce Schoening got the Matadors into the eighth before handing off to Edwin Quirarte, who finished off the frame. Northridge was blanked in the eighth, and in the top of the ninth, a pair of Aggie runs set up the Matador dramatics.
With closer Justin Fitzgerald on the shelf after being used the previous two days, left-handed Aggie fireman Andy Suiter was the best option in the ninth. It didn't take long for Pineda to find a pitch he liked. The freshman turned the first pitch he saw around and pulled it deep over the left field wall, sending the Matadors to a walk-off victory. Pineda took his time circling the bags before being mobbed by his teammates at the plate.
The Matadors got their 24th win with the victory and moved to 8-16 in Big West play. They finish in a tie with Cal Poly for seventh in the Big West.
Meanwhile, the Northridge victory may have popped the bubble for UC Davis for regional play. The Aggies were still in the hunt for a NCAA regional berth but our now a bit of long shot after finishing sixth in the conference.