Matadors swept by UC Riverside, on five-game skid

Ivan Yeo

After Saturday’s 18-1 drubbing at the hands of No. 17 UC Riverside, the CSUN Matador baseball team looked to deliver a much better effort against the Highlanders at Matador field on Sunday.

The Matadors did just that, staying with the Highlanders pitch for pitch and hit for hit, but Riverside was still a step ahead of the curve, as they came up with the timely hits and its pitching staff held off several Northridge threats throughout the afternoon on their way to a 7-4 win, giving them the season series sweep over the Matadors.

“They played good baseball today,” head coach Steve Rousey said of his team’s performance. “I thought the ball didn’t bounce our way today.”

UC Riverside struck first early in the game, scoring one in the first and two in the third to take a 3-0 lead. Northridge pushed one run across in the bottom third on an RBI single by senior first baseman Jorge Andrade Jr. CSUN got another run across an inning later on an RBI single by senior third baseman Todd Shelton, but in the top of the fifth inning, Riverside shortstop Jamie Pedroza sent a deep flyball over the right field fence for a solo blast to widen the Highlander lead back to two.

The Matadors continued to battle, getting another RBI single, this one by senior center fielder Amiel Traynum with the bases loaded in the bottom fifth to cut the Highlanders’ lead to 4-3, but Riverside’s pitchers made sure Northridge didn’t get any further, getting out of that bases-loaded jam in the fifth, stranding a single runner in the sixth and eighth innings, as well as stranding runners at second and third in the seventh inning. Riverside sealed the game with three runs in the ninth.

“(Riverside) got a few base hits in there,” Rousey said. “(Riverside) got some squibbers off the ends of the bat and some jam shots that un-did us.”

Andrade Jr. and Traynum both went 3 for 5 with an RBI while Pedroza, Ben Price and Mark Samuelson each drove in two runs for Riverside. Both teams had trouble bringing in runs, as CSUN left 12 runners on base while Riverside left 10 runners on base.

“A loss is a loss, but no matter what, it could be a lopsided game, but our guys still went out there and played hard all nine,” Andrade Jr. said.

The Matadors fell to 14-26, 2-13 in the Big West Conference while Riverside improved to 33-17, 12-3 in conference play, a half game behind conference leader Long Beach State. While Riverside prepares for a key three-game series with the Dirtbags this coming weekend, the Matadors will head down the 405 south to face the UC Irvine Anteaters at Anteater Ballpark. Friday and Saturday’s game will start at 6 p.m. and Sunday’s game will start at 1 p.m. CSUN will then return to Matador Field for its final three games of the 2007 season against the Pacific Tigers starting on May 25. The game on May 25 will start at 3 p.m. and the games on May 26 and May 27 will start at 1 p.m.