Matadors avoid sweep by Irvine; win UNLV series

Cal State Northridge closed out a five-game home stand on Sunday with a 4-1 win against UC Irvine, avoiding a sweep by the Anteaters, who took the first game on Friday 4-1, as well as Saturday’s game 1-0. The Matadors started their busy week by defeating non-conference opponent UNLV on Tuesday 2-1 and on Wednesday 5-3.

Freshman Ryan Juarez took the mound on Sunday and pitched seven innings, scattering just three hits and one run to collect the win. Junior Edwin Quirarte closed it out for the Matadors, getting the save after pitching two innings and giving up two hits.

UC Irvine’s Daniel Bibona took the loss for the Anteaters after pitching 6.2 innings. Bibona gave up five hits and four runs. Kyle Neckel pitched 1.1 innings of relief, giving up two hits.

The Anteaters scored a run in the fourth inning and held the 1-0 lead until the Matadors came alive in the seventh. Freshman Chris Hannick started things rolling by putting a single through the right side. Sophomore C.J. Belanger came in to run for Hannick and advanced to second on a walk by freshman Ryan Pineda. Freshman Matt Warr reached on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error advanced Belanger and Pineda. Sophomore Dominic D’Anna came in to pinch hit and delivered a single that scored Belanger. Sophomore Jason Dabbs grounded out, scoring Pineda and freshman T.S. Reed singled to score Warr and freshman Todd Eskelin, who came in to run for D’Anna. The inning and the game ended with the Matadors leading 4-1.

Saturday’s game was a battle of pitchers, with senior right-hander Phil Hann pitching 8.2 innings, while giving up four hits and one run in the loss. Hann struck out six batters before Quirarte relieved him, facing just one batter.

For Irvine, Bryce Stowell scattered just two hits and struck out eight in the win. Tom Calahan pitched just 0.1 innings of relief, followed by Eric Pettis, who got the save with one inning of work, giving up one hit.

The Anteaters scored the only run of the game in the seventh inning. Shortstop Ben Orloff singled, then advanced to third on Dillon Bell’s single. Larson hit a fielder’s choice, scoring Orloff and ultimately resulting in the 1-0 win.

In the series opener on Friday afternoon, freshman right-hander Davin Tate took the mound for Northridge and threw for six innings. Tate gave up seven hits and two runs before being relieved by senior right-hander Eric Billings, who pitched three innings. Billings scattered two hits and two runs, while striking out three batters.

For Irvine, Scott Gorgen got the win after pitching 8.1 innings. Gorgen struck out 10 batters, giving up four hits and one run. Pettis came in for just 0.2 innings of relief, giving up just one hit.

The Anteaters got on the board in the second inning after Larson got on base with a single, then scored on Eric Deragisch’s triple. Irvine extended its lead in the fourth inning on designated hitter Tony Asaro’s home run.

The Matadors cut Irvine’s lead to 2-1 in the eighth inning when freshman Justin DeMarco hit a solo home run.

In the ninth inning, the Anteaters extended their lead when Deragisch singled, then scored on a home run by Aaron Lowenstein, for a 4-1 score.

The Matadors threatened back with their turn at bat. D’Anna reached base on a walk and Pineda singled, advancing D’Anna. Hannick’s walk loaded the bases, but with two outs, freshman Matt Warr struck out swinging to end the game.

Earlier in the week, CSUN enjoyed two victories against the UNLV Rebels. On Tuesday, the Matadors battled to a 2-1 win with sophomore Billy Ott starting on the mound and throwing for five innings, giving up just three hits and striking out five. Billings pitched three innings of relief, giving up two hits and one run for the win. Quirarte threw one inning of relief and gave up two hits for the save.

For UNLV Marc Baca pitched 6.2 innings and struck out five, while giving up eight hits and one run. Michael Goodman took the loss for the Rebels, pitching 0.2 innings while giving up one hit and one run. Adam Moser pitched the final 0.2 innings, giving up one hit.

Northridge scored in the third inning after Reed singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, then scored on a double by junior Richard Cates.

UNLV tied the game in the seventh inning, Xavier Scruggs reached base on a walk, then advanced to second on Braden Walker’s sacrifice bunt and to third on a grounder by Michael Brenly. A throwing error on Rance Roundy’s hit allowed Scruggs to score for the 1-1 tie.

The Matadors answered back in the eighth, with Hannick coming in to hit for D’Anna and delivering a double to left field. Belanger came in to run for Hannick and advanced to third on a ground out by Warr, then scored on a single by freshman Drew Muren, giving Northridge the 2-1 lead.

The Rebels threatened back in the ninth, with two hits putting the winning runs on base, but they were left stranded, giving CSUN the win.

Wednesday’s game had Muren on the mound for the win after pitching six innings. Muren struck out five, while giving up just two hits and one run. Junior lefty Bryce Schoening relieved Muren and pitched for 1.2 innings, giving up three hits and two runs. Quirarte came in and saved it for the Matadors, throwing 1.1 innings and giving up just one hit.

For the Rebels, Matt Hutchison threw 7.2 innings in the loss, giving up five hits and five runs. Adam Moser pitched 0.1 innings of relief and gave up one hit.

UNLV took the early lead, scoring in the first inning. The Matadors snatched the lead away from the Rebels in the fourth inning after Cates singled, then advanced to second on a D’Anna single. Cates took third on a wild pitch, then scored on a single by Muren, which also scored D’Anna, putting the Matadors ahead 2-1.

DeMarco singled in the fifth inning, then advanced on Reed’s single through the left side. Junior John Parham walked to lead the bases, then Cates hit a fielder’s choice that scored DeMarco. A balk scored Reed for a 4-1 Matador lead.

The Rebels came back in the eighth inning, cutting the CSUN lead to 4-3, but the Matadors got an insurance run in the eight, although they ended up not needing it. Cates reached base on a fielding error, advanced on a wild pitch, then came home on a double by Pineda.

Northridge faces UNLV for a rematch, today and tomorrow in Las Vegas, before taking on the USC Trojans Saturday and Sunday in Los Angeles.