Matadors get first conference win, but lose five

Debby von Winckelmann

The CSUN baseball team will head south tomorrow for a three-game series against Cal State Long Beach. After the first two weeks of conference play, the Matadors are just 1-5 in the Big West, while Long Beach is 1-2 in conference play.

The CSUN baseball team opened conference play on March 30 at Matador Field with a 4-3 loss to No. 12 Cal State Fullerton. Although the Matadors held the Titans scoreless for seven innings with Jimmy Jolicouer on the mound, Fullerton tied the game 3-3 in the eighth and scored the winning run in the ninth. The Titans Wes Roemer got the win, pitching the full nine innings while CSUN’s Phil Hann took the loss.

The second game of the opening series on March 31 wasn’t as close, with the Matadors losing the game 9-4. The Titans had 11 hits and 9 RBI compared to CSUN’s 5 hits and 4 RBI.

The final game of the series on April 1 was another close one, but the Matadors were unable to pull off a win, losing 7-6 on April 1. Andrade Jr. again led the offense with three hits and one RBI, followed by Jason Dabbs with two hits and three RBI. Fullerton managed a to get five runs in the ninth inning to go ahead 7-3. CSUN rallied and closed the gap to one run, but that was as close as they would get. Edwin Quirarte was the losing pitcher for the Matadors.

Head coach Steve Rousey said he would have liked to get a win, but said he was not disappointed in his team.

“I don’t want anyone to think I’m disappointed in my boys,” Rousey said. “They fought hard all 27 innings this weekend. They did a lot of good things. We were competing against a national power that has been a contender for the national title every year and we were close.”

Fullerton head coach George Horton said he was nervous a few times during the series.

“We didn’t give them anything. They stretched us as far as we could be stretched. We’re tickled to come away with the sweep,” Horton said.

The Matadors played another close game at home just two days later, losing to Fresno State 7-6. Andrade Jr. again led the offense with four hits and two RBI, including a home run in the first inning. Amiel Traynum and Murray-Thornton contributed two hits each , but Bulldogs were able to get the winning run in the ninth inning.

CSUN got their first conference win against the Cal Poly Mustangs 8-7 on April 5 at Baggett Stadium in San Luis Obispo.

The Matadors dropped the next two close games, the first one, losing 9-8 on April 6 in extra innings. The Matadors lost the final game of the series 10-8 on April 7. C.J. Belanger led the Matador offense with three hits and two RBI, followed by Andrade Jr., Murray-Thornton, Parham, Traynum and Todd Shelton, all with two hits. Andrade Jr. hit his fifth homerun of the season.