Matadors Salvage Series Finale with 2-1 Comeback Victory Over LMU
March 27, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
In a defensive battle on Sunday at Matador Field, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (14-10) made the right plays at the right time to defeat the Loyola Marymount Lions (15-10) by a score of 2-1 in the final game of a three-game series.
Hits were not at premium in the low-scoring affair, as the two teams combined for 17 hits on the day. The big story, however, was the fact that both teams were able to come up with key defensive plays in a jam as the Matadors stranded 10 runners to LMU's five.
In the top half of the first inning, LMU had runners on first and second with no outs following a leadoff double and a walk. Starting pitcher Alex Muren (2-0, 2.95 ERA) struck out the third hitter and induced a ground ball from the clean-up man that turned into an inning-ending double play as second baseman TS Reed barehanded a tough hop in the hole to turn two.
The lone run for the Lions was scored in the top of the third inning, as LMU put a runner across in the third in each game of the series. Leadoff hitter Bret Dahlson hit a high fly ball to left field that carried with the wind over the fence for a solo homerun.
The Lions had plenty of chances for more runs throughout the game, but the stellar defense for Northridge prevented the lead from expanding. In the top of the fourth inning, LMU hit a one-out double and the runner later advanced to third on a passed ball by Steven Keller.
With one out, shortstop Kyle Attl handled a ground ball and fired home in time to cut down the runner at the plate as Keller prevented the slide from reaching home.
In the top of the fifth inning, still holding a 1-0 advantage, LMU had yet another one-out hit, this time a single, and saw a runner on second after a stolen base. The next hitter hit a hard chopper up the middle that Attl was able to knock down before throwing to Keller once more to get the runner trying to score for the second time.
The defense did not back down for Northridge as left fielder Adam Barry threw out a runner trying to turn a single into a double.
The Matadors were finally able to put one into the run column in the bottom half of the sixth inning following a leadoff double from Attl. Andrew Muren sacrificed himself with a bunt to move the runner to third and with one out Keller singled through the right side of the infield to score the tying run.
In the top of the seventh in a 1-1 ballgame, the Lions had a golden opportunity to break the tie with one out. With defensive replacement Nate Ring in right field, the LMU hitter cracked a double to the wall that got just over a jumping Ring. Trying to stretch a double into a triple, the runner was called out at third as Reed relayed the throw from right to third baseman Tommy Simis to keep the runner off the basepaths.
The final run of the game came in the bottom of the eighth inning for the Matadors after the first two hitter were set down on strikes. Ring singled up the middle to try to start a rally for Northridge before Justin De Marco, also into the game as a substitute, doubled to right center. Ring was running hard on first contact and just barely got his hand around the tag at the plate as he dove into home for the go-ahead run.
Relief pitcher Joshua Goossen-Brown (2-0, 2.29 ERA) finished off the ninth inning for CSUN to earn his second win of the year.
Carpenter finished the day 2-for-3 and was also hit by a pitch, Attl was 2-for-3 with a run scored and Alex Muren threw 6.0 innings, striking out three in a no decision.
The Matadors will now travel south to San Diego State for a Tuesday night game with the Aztecs at 6 p.m. Big West Conference play will begin on Friday, April 1 with a three-game series at UC Irvine.