April 12, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
With the recently completed Valley Performing Arts Center down the street, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (17-16) turned in their most dramatic finish of the season, scoring three runs in the final two innings to defeat the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (14-13) by a score of 3-2 for a storybook ending to a non-conference contest at Matador Field on Tuesday.
The Matadors have now won each of the last two games by one run. Tuesday's game was one of five that Northridge will play against the Gauchos and one of two that will not count toward conference standings.
The Gauchos took an early lead in the game as the leadoff hitter doubled to right center on the second pitch of the game from starter Vincent Roberts, who received a no-decision after pitching 4.0 innings and striking out two. With one out, a ground ball to third baseman Tommy Simis was misplayed, allowing the runner to score from second to give UCSB a 1-0 lead.
UC Santa Barbara doubled the lead to 2-0 in the top of the second following a leadoff single. After a sacrifice bunt, the runner stole third and later scored on a double that hit the top of the right field wall and was feet away from being a homerun. Roberts escaped the inning with no further damage and, though both runs in the game were charged to him, allowed one earned run on the afternoon.
Northridge's first hit of the game was turned in by Joshua Goossen-Brown, the reigning Big West Co-Pitcher of the Week, in the home half of the second inning with two out but he was unable to score.
The Gauchos threatened to score again in the top of the fifth when Alex Muren came on in relief of Roberts. He allowed back-to-back two out walks before striking out the fifth hitter of the inning on three pitches to retire the side. Muren pitched 2.0 innings and did not give up a hit while striking out two.
The Matadors were finally able to break through onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth inning after Simis hit a hard ground ball that took a bad hop for the second baseman and resulted in an infield single. Freshman Matthew Telesco, making his second straight start, was subsequently hit by a pitch and TS Reed sacrificed the pair over to second and third on a bunt.
With one out, Ridge Carpenter hit a sacrifice fly to shallow center field and Simis scored to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Trailing by one in the top of the ninth, relief pitcher Paul Tremlin (2-1) was able to induce an inning-ending double play with a runner on first.
In the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Muren led off with a walk and the Gaucho starting pitcher was replaced after throwing eight complete innings. Catcher Marty Bowen laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the tying run into scoring position with one out. After Steven Keller flew out, the Matadors faced their final out and opted to bring in Adam Barry, who was riding a seven-game hitting streak, as a pinch hitter for Goossen-Brown.
Barry was hit on the leg on the 2-1 pitch to bring up Simis. Facing an 0-2 count and one strike away from a loss, Simis flipped a pitch into shallow right field that the fielder tried to dive for but missed. The ball rolled to the fence for a double and both Andrew Muren and Barry came around to score and give the Matadors a 3-2 victory.
The walk-off win was the first for Cal State Northridge since former Matador Ryan Pineda hit a game-winning homerun against Pepperdine on February 28, 2010.
Andrew Muren finished the game 1-for-3 with a run and a walk and Simis went 2-for-4 with two RBI as the only Matador with multiple hits. Tremlin pitched a scoreless seventh, eighth and ninth to earn his second win of the season.