The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors can’t contain hitting spree by Gauchos, lose 9-3

A windy Wednesday afternoon at Matador field weathered a loss for CSUN’s baseball team against UC Santa Barbara’s Gauchos 9-3.

Fierce winds howled throughout the game, challenging the players defensively. The wind forced the ball to hook and turn in all directions.

“Santa Ana’s tend to do what they do here,” said head coach Steve Rousey, “It should work to our advantage because it’s our home field.”

The Matadors were the first to strike in the first inning off a single up the middle by left-fielder Richard Cates, driving in second-baseman Ryan Pineda for the 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second inning, the Gauchos rallied for four runs in the top of the third, thanks to the Gauchos third baseman Robby Cummings’ homerun over right field, which scored two runs. The Matadors had two defensive errors by missed catches at first base in the same inning that cost them the other two runs.

“We put up 14 hits, but we didn’t string them together as well as UCSB did,” Rousey said.

In his first career start, freshman pitcher Ryan Juarez pitched a two inning shutout. Juarez pitched for the first four innings until he was replaced by junior right-hander P.J. Rousey. The Matadors used seven of their 15 pitchers for the game. Coach Rousey said he wanted his pitchers to get out there to get more comfortable.

During the top of the fourth inning, Juarez walked the first batter, and the next batter hit a line drive base hit, putting runners on first and second base. A bunt by the Gauchos’ Chris McMurray was picked up by catcher John Parham and thrown to third base forcing the first out of the inning. The next batter for the Gauchos, Cummings, hit a grounder to second baseman Pineda, who turned the double-play to end the inning with the Gauchos ahead 4-1.

At the top of the fifth inning, the Gauchos made another huge run, scoring four more runs, bringing the score to 8-1. Matadors’ pitcher Rousey started the fifth inning, but ran into problems after a forced error from Rousey, when he attempted to pick off the runner at first base. The Gauchos had three singles that drove in one run and a double down the right field line by second baseman Shane Carlson to score two more. The Gauchos were too much for Rousey in the fifth inning, they concocted a hitting spree that drove in four runs, which forced the Matadors to turn to pitcher Eric Billings, relieving Rousey for the game.

Billings pitched a shutout during the top of sixth inning. Cates, who had his fifth consecutive multi-hit game, blasted a double into right field to start off the bottom of the sixth inning, followed by a base hit by Parham, which put runners at first and third base with no outs. A sacrifice pop fly by Drew Muren enabled Cates to score, for a 8-2 score.

The Matadors turned to left-handed pitcher Peter Mendez for the seventh inning. Mendez did a solid job of maintaining a scoreless inning from the Gauchos, but the Matadors weren’t able to capitalize during the bottom of the seventh inning, as a double play by the Gauchos kept the Matadors at bay.

By the top of the eighth inning, the Matadors were running out of time for a comeback. Paul Tremlin stepped onto the mound for the Matadors and on his third pitch to Gauchos Matt Valaika, Valaika launched one deep into left field for a homerun, putting the score at 9-2. Temlin gave up another run before closing out the inning by striking out two Gauchos. Pineda hit a triple to start off the inning, hitting a deep fly ball to left field off the far fence inches away from a homerun. Pineda scored after a pop fly by Cates was caught, giving Cates his second RBI in the game for a 9-3 Gauchos’ lead. Soon after, the Matadors tried to rally with two consecutive base hits, putting runners at first and second base, but a grounder to the Gauchos second-baseman led to three outs.

Last chance for the Matadors, defensively they put a stop to the Gauchos during the top of the ninth inning. A base hit by Matadors’ short-stop Jason Dabbs, who was 3-4 in hitting, put him on first base. After right-fielder Jeff Pruitt struck out, center-fielder C.J. Belanger hit a floater over the infielder’s heads, putting runners at first and second. Unfortunately, the Gauchos made a double-play off of Pineda’s grounder to end the game with a final score of 9-3, Gauchos.

Due to the windy conditions, defensively the Matadors had trouble with ground balls bouncing every which way. The ground gets harder and the ground balls were jumping even more so, explained coach Rousey.

“Baseball is a team sport,” said coach Rousey. “We were consistent offensively, but not relentless offensively.”

The Matadors are 5-3 for the season and faced St. John’s over the weekend for a four-game series.

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