Going into their three-game series against UC Irvine on April 1, the Matadors, who were tied for first place in the Big West with Pacific, were a confident group. The offense had scored 10 or more runs in five straight games, and the pitchers were performing well. The Anteaters, however, brought the Matadors back to reality as they swept the three game series.
The Anteaters routed the Matadors 16-2 in the series opener. Northridge’s offense was held to four hits; meanwhile, the Anteaters had 22 hits. The Matadors were stifled by Anteaters starting pitcher Daniel Bibona, who pitched eight innings and struck out 12 batters in picking up the victory.
The Anteaters scored the games first run in the third inning on a solo home run by second baseman Casey Stevenson. Two batters later first baseman Jeff Cusick hit a two-run home run to increase the Anteaters lead to 3-0.
The Anteaters were up 6-0 in the seventh when the Matadors got two runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to 6-2. It was the closest the Matadors would get, as the Anteaters added 10 more runs in the finals two innings.
The second game of the series was more competitive; however, UC Irvine still prevailed with a 5-3 victory. The Matadors jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after Drew Muren hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.
The score remained 1-0 until the fourth inning, when Anteaters catcher Francis Larson hit a three-run home run to left field off Matador pitcher Paul Tremlin to give the Anteaters a 3-1 lead. Tremlin, who took the loss, pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs, and six hits.
The Matadors tied the game in the bottom of the fifth thanks to RBI singles by Drew Muren and Dominic D’ Anna. The Anteaters responded immediately, as Irvine third baseman Brian Hernandez led off the sixth inning with a solo home run, giving the Anteaters a led that they didn’t relinquish, as the Matadors were held hitless in the last three innings.
In the third and final game of the series, the Matador rally came up short as they fell to the Anteaters 7-5.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Matadors trailed 7-0. The Matadors got their first run of the game on a CJ Bellanger’s double. Bellanger went 2-for-4 on the day, with three RBI’s.
The Matadors got four more runs in the eighth to make the score 7-5, but that would be as close as they would get.
The Matadors next traveled to Malibu to take on Pepperdine University. The teams were originally scheduled to play a two game series, but due to inclement weather on April 5, the teams played a doubleheader on April 6. Despite the extra day of rest, the Matadors lost both games, losing the first game 3-2, and the second game 12-7.
With the sweep over the Matadors, the Waves were able to get some revenge for two loses to Northridge back in February.
CSUN’s offense was held in check by the Pepperdine pitchers, holding the Matadors to seven hits. Pepperdine pitcher Robert Dickmann pitched six innings for the Waves, striking out eight batters, giving up three hits and no earned runs.
The Matadors fell behind early again in the second game of the doubleheader, as the Waves scored six runs in the first inning. The Matadors spent the rest of the game trying to mount a comeback. The closest that the Matadors would come was three, as the Matadors scored three runs in the third inning to cut the lead in half 6-3. Ryan Pineda had an RBI double in the inning, and Dominic D’ Anna had a two RBI single.
The Waves scored three runs over the next two innings to put the game away, and extend the Matadors losing streak to five games.