12-Run Sixth Sends Matadors to First Victory of '08
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -- It took just one inning to derail any thoughts of a sweep Sunday in Northridge. Trailing by three runs and with the weather threatening to end the contest prematurely, The Matadors sent 15 hitters to the dish and brought around 12 runs, their most in any individual frame since 2006 and two off the Northridge record of 14. The final tally had Northridge on top, 17-9.
In a season marked thus far by the seasoning of some very talented freshmen, it was a pair of juniors that keyed the Northridge attack on this day. John Parham and Richard Cates, each relegated to reserve status for the afternoon, led the charge and accounted for eight of the Matadors' 15 RBI. Each smacked a home run and managed a second hit, Parham with a single and Cates with a two-RBI triple. For the weekend, Cates was 4-for-6 with a double, triple, home run, six RBI, and 10 runs scored.
The Matadors fell into an early deficit again Sunday, giving up a run in the first and surrendering four more in the third. As was the case Saturday, Northridge clawed back in the third, gnawing away at the Northwestern with three runs of their own on a Matt Warr double and Jeff Pruitt single. The Matadors tied the game in the fourth when Parham's jack brought home Ryan Pineda, who was aboard after getting plunked in his second at-bat.
In the fifth, both sides became aware that the threshold for an official game was approaching. With ominous clouds lining the vista to the south and west, the decision was made to play on. The decision appeared costly for the Matadors when The Wildcats put together small rally and pushed across three runs, but the Matadors returned the favor and then some in their turn at bat.
Drew Muren and Pineda led off the inning with back-to-back walks before Parham knocked a single down the left field line, scoring Muren and leaving runners on first and second. Matt Warr then singled through the left side to load the bases and was pinch run for by Billy Swanson, who was the recipient of a balk call. The balk brought home the tying run and eliminated the opportunity for the conventional double play for Richard Cates, the pinch hitter for Pruitt. Cates stepped up to face relief pitcher Jonathan Purcell and lined a triple into the right field corner, scoring two and giving the Matadors a lead of that margin.
At the top of the order, C.J. Belanger walked and Justin DeMarco laid down the sac bunt to score Cates and got on himself when Wildcat first baseman Jake Goebbert failed to corral the throw. Jowen-James Murray-Thornton then got into the act with an RBI single, Chris Hannick helped the cause with a sac fly, and after a pop fly for Muren, Pineda laced an RBI double into the left-center field gap. Matt Carvutto made his first collegiate plate appearance and made it count with a single into left field and Swanson followed with a hit by pitch, setting up Cates' dinger, the third of his career. Belanger grounded out to Goebbert to end the onslaught, and after Paul Tremlin worked a one-run seventh, the game was truncated to accommodate Northwestern's travel plans back to Illinois.
Warr tallied his first career-multi-hit day and finished the weekend at 3-for-6. Murray-Thornton also finished the day with two hits, as did Parham, Cates, and Pruitt.
Davin Tate was the Northridge starter and did not figure into the decision. The big righty went three innings and surrendered five runs, four earned on six hits. Tate struck out two in his 2008 debut. P.J. Rousey threw in relief and faced the minimum through two, allowing one hit and retiring the 'Cats in order in the fifth. Bryce Schoening relieved Rousey midway through the sixth and got the Matadors out of a jam and ultimately earned the win. Brian Roberts took the loss in relief for Northwestern.
The matadors return to action Tuesday when they head south down the 405 to take on the No. 1 UCLA Bruins. Drew Muren will take the hill in his Northridge pitching debut and will be opposed by Bruin hurler Matt Drummond, a left-handed sophomore. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Jackie Robinson Stadium.