Senior designated hitter Kris Kasarjian hit a grand slam in the CSUN baseball team’s eight-run sixth inning, but No. 17 UC Riverside scored 12 runs over the last three innings to win 18-10 at Matador Field on Thursday.
Kasarjian led the Matador offense with two hits and four RBI, including the first Matador grand slam of the season. Freshman shortstop Jason Dabbs also homered, getting two hits and three RBI in the game. Other Matadors getting two hits in the game were freshman right fielder C.J. Belanger, senior center fielder Amiel Traynum, and senior second baseman Jonathan Sakurai, who extended his hitting streak to nine games. Senior first baseman Jorge Andrade, Jr. had a single in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
CSUN sent five pitchers to the mound, with senior Bobby Pascal starting the game and pitching five innings for the Matadors. Pascal gave up five hits and six runs, four of them earned. He had two strikeouts, both in the first inning, and walked three batters.
Junior right-hander Philip Hann came in to relieve Pascal, pitching two innings and striking out two batters. Hann gave up two hits and one earned run before being relieved by freshman right-hander Brian Slover. Slover pitched just part of the eighth and gave up four hits and three earned runs. Sophomore right-hander Edwin Quirarte came in with the bases loaded and two out in the eighth and was able to get the Matadors out of the inning without any further damage. But the ninth inning would be a disaster, with the Highlanders getting five hits and eight earned runs and Quirarte (2-8) taking the loss for CSUN. Junior right-hander Eric Billings came in to finish the game, getting the last two outs, one by strikeout.
For UC Riverside, sophomore pitcher Stephen Penney (5-2) recorded the win, pitching two innings of relief and giving up just one hit. The Highlanders’ starter, junior James Simmons, threw for five innings, giving up 10 hits and seven runs, two of them earned. Senior Taylor Bills relieved Simmons, pitching for just over one inning and surrendering three hits and three unearned runs.
UC Riverside got on the scoreboard in the second inning after Pascal put two on base, one hit by a pitch and the other walked, and an error by Dabbs scored both, giving the Highlanders a 2-0 lead. Another error in the third inning gave UC Riverside another run and put the Highlanders ahead 3-0.
CSUN got on the scoreboard in the third inning after senior left fielder Alex Bardeguez singled and then scored on a hit by Belanger. The Matadors got another run in the fourth inning after junior catcher Jowen-James Murray-Thornton got on base with a hit and scored on a single by Dabbs to bring the score to 3-2.
The Highlanders scored three more runs in the fifth after Wible homered with a runner on base and junior Mike Vass followed just one batter later with a solo home run to extend the UC Riverside lead to 6-2.
CSUN scored a season-high eight runs in the sixth inning, fueled by seven Matador hits and two Highlander errors. Bardeguez reached base on a fielding error and scored on a homerun by Dabbs. Belanger hit a double and after advancing on a single by Sakurai, scored on a Highlander throwing error. Andrade, Jr. singled to score Sakurai, followed by a single by sophomore Richard Cates. Murray-Thornton got on base due to a throwing error to load the bases for Kasarjian, who hit a grand slam to put CSUN ahead 10-6.
UC Riverside starting chipping away at CSUN’s lead immediately with a home run from Pedroza in the seventh inning to put the score at 10-7. The Highlanders tied the score at 10-10 in the eighth after Pedroza hit a double to score two and Wible’s single scored Pedroza.
The Highlanders matched CSUN’s season-high eight-run inning with one of their own in the ninth, which also included their first grand slam of the season. UC Riverside took the lead from the Matadors on five hits, winning the game 18-10.
The Matadors drop to 14-34 overall and 2-11 in Big West play.
The three-game series continued on Saturday at the Riverside Sports Complex and Sunday at Matador Field.