After a rough start to the 2008 baseball season last weekend against Northwestern, things went a lot smoother for the CSUN Matador baseball team against the LaSalle Explorers this past weekend.
The Matadors grinded out a tough 7-5 win on Friday, but followed that effort up with blowouts the next two games, winning 15-0 on Saturday and 16-5 on Sunday.
“It was a good weekend. Everyone’s starting to come together,” junior infielder Richard Cates said. “All the young guys got the jitters out from the first weekend.”
Game one on Friday was a see-saw battle, as both teams traded leads for five innings. CSUN led 5-4, but LaSalle tied the game with an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning. But, in the bottom sixth, junior catcher John Parham led off with a walk, and after moving up a base due to a balk, sophomore left fielder Billy Swanson singled to right to bring home Parham and give the Matadors a lead they never relinquished. CSUN added one more run in the eighth inning.
After Friday’s game, the Matadors had a much easier time with the Explorers, blowing out LaSalle in the next two games by double digits. After a scoreless first, CSUN scored at least two runs throughout the next four innings, with the majority of the damage being done with five runs in the fifth inning. Cates drove in a team-high three runs while sophomore center fielder C.J. Belanger, sophomore shortstop Jason Dabbs, freshman designated hitter Drew Muren and freshman second baseman T.S. Reed drove in two apiece. The Matadors were also paced by the outstanding pitching performance of Hann, who pitched six innings and struck out 11 batters. At one point, Hann retired 10 straight batters.
“I just try to take it one pitch at a time,” Hann said. “I make sure I’m 100 percent ready and committed to that pitch.”
In game three LaSalle took a 2-0 lead, but the advantage was wiped out by a four-run second inning by the Matadors. The Explorers’ senior second baseman John Richards sent a Tate pitch over the fence at right-center field the next inning, but that was the closest LaSalle got, as freshman third baseman Matt Warr crushed a pitch by freshman Kevin Fuqua over the wall at right-center field for a three-run home run. The Matadors blew the game open with another five-run fifth inning and added two runs apiece in the seventh and eighth innings.
LaSalle wasn’t the only obstacle standing in the way of the Matadors on Sunday. The fierce Santa Ana winds violently ripped through Matador field during the game.
“That wind is our wind.” Rousey said. “We know how to play it. We practice in that wind, (and) we embrace it as not something that hurts us, but adds to our advantage.”
The Matadors look to complete the four-game sweep of the Explorers today at 2 p.m. at Matador Field.