April 21, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
After losing their first six Big West Conference games, all on the road, the Cal State Northridge Matadors returned to Matador Field and defeated the visiting Pacific Tigers (11-22, 3-7 Big West) by a score of 13-6 on Thursday afternoon. The victory moves Northridge to 18-19 overall and 1-6 in conference play.
The Matadors relied on timely pitching and defense in order to grab their first Big West win, as the two teams combined for 34 hits. On the day, Northridge was able to turn two inning-ending double plays, both with the bases loaded.
Things were not going the Matadors' way in the top of the first as Pacific jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Back-to-back singles were allowed by starter Ryan Juarez (3-5) to lead off the inning. Northridge caught a break as the next hitter hit a hard ground ball that hit the runner, Tyger Pederson, on the leg between second and third, resulting in the first out.
The next hitter for the Tigers walked, loading the bases with one away. Following an RBI single, Juarez got Daniel Johnston to ground into a double play to Kyle Attl at shortstop and escaped with minimal damage.
The Matadors were able to break onto the scoresheet in the bottom of the second inning, as first baseman Joshua Goossen-Brown led off with a walk and catcher Marty Bowen singled to center field for the first Northridge hit. Both Goossen-Brown and Bowen advanced a base on a wild pitch by Pacific's Brent McMinn (1-2) before the next two hitters struckout looking.
With two outs, Attl singled to center field and advanced to second base as both runners came around to score. TS Reed then walked and Ridge Carpenter singled to right center for one of two RBI on the day. After Carpenter stole his team-leading 12th base of the year, left fielder Adam Barry singled off the pitcher's glove to score Reed and extend his hitting streak to a team-high 11 games as the Matadors took a 4-1 lead.
Pacific responded in the top of the third as three straight two-out singles cut the lead to 4-2, but Northridge answered back in their half of the fourth inning.
Carpenter led off the inning with a single to right field and advanced to second on a groundout. Andrew Muren singled to first base and then stole second to give Northridge runners on second and third with one out. Goossen-Brown grounded out to the right side to score Carpenter and Bowen singled in Muren to give the Matadors a 6-2 lead.
The Tigers continued the back-and-forth battle in the top of the fifth by plating a run as a leadoff single ended up scoring with two outs to cut the margin in half.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Attl singled up the middle with one out and scored from first on Carpenter's two-out double to left field.
Pacific came back with a run of their own in the sixth, in what could have been a larger inning and swayed momentum away from the Matadors. With one out, Brett Christopher walked on four pitches and Aaron Hassel doubled to right center. Juarez then walked Josh Simms to load the bases before being replaced by Vincent Roberts.
Roberts walked the first hitter he faced to force in the run from third, but was the beneficiary of an inning-ending double play that started with a flip from Reed at second to Attl covering the base.
The Matadors extended pushed the lead to 8-4 in the bottom of the sixth after Muren led off with a double to left center. Muren then advanced on a passed ball and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Bowen.
The game was broken open for good in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Matthew Moreno, who came on as a defensive replacement for Tommy Simis in the third inning, recorded his first hit as a Matador to lead things off. Attl attempted to sacrifice himself but reached first on an infield single as his bunt rolled fair along the third base line.
After a successful sacrifice bunt, Carpenter was intentionally walked and Barry grounded out to score Moreno from third. Muren was then intentionally walked and Goossen-Brown legged out an RBI single to the shortstop. Bowen then hit a soft line drive to first base, but the ball was misplayed and Bowen was safe on a fielding error as Muren and Carpenter scored to put Northridge ahead 12-4 after seven innings.
Pacific tried to mount a rally in the eighth as two pinch hitters reached with a single and a double to open the inning. A wild pitch scored one run and another came across on a one-out double to cut the advantage to 12-6.
The final run of the game scored in the bottom of the eighth as Carpenter came around to score on a ground-rule double by Muren, his second two-bagger of the afternoon.
Roberts pitched the final 3.2 innings to earn his first save of the season as Juarez was credited with the win.
In all, four Matador hitters recorded three hits in the game: Carpenter (3-for-5, three runs, two RBI), Muren (3-for-4, two doubles, three runs, one RBI, two walks), Bowen (3-for-4, two RBI, one run scored) and Attl (3-for-5, two RBI, three runs scored). Both Goossen-Brown and Barry added two RBI for Northridge.
The Matadors' next game is scheduled for tomorrow, Apr. 22 at 3 p.m. against the Tigers at Matador Field. All fans who bring travel-sized toiletry items to donate to Unified We Serve and M.E.N.D. will receive free admission.