Coming off a pair of walk-off wins against Pepperdine last week, the Matadors welcomed the Connecticut Huskies to Matador Field for a four game series. The Huskies made their first trip in school history to CSUN. The Matadors meanwhile we’re putting their three-game winning streak on the line.
The Matadors (5-5) fell behind early in Friday’s 7-3 loss to UCONN (5-2) thanks to a two-run homer by Huskies catcher Joe Pavone in the second inning. The home run came against Matador starting pitcher Ryan Juarez, who took the loss for the Matadors.
CSUN responded in its half of the second inning on an RBI single by short stop TS Reed. After giving up a run to the Matadors, UCONN starting pitcher Elliot Glynn shut out the Matadors for the next four innings to pick up his first win of the season.
UCONN, meanwhile took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh when the Matadors were able to break through against Scott Oberg, who came in relief for Glynn. Left fielder Ridge Carpenter, who went three-for-five on the afternoon, scored from third base on a wild pitch, and first base man Dominic D’Anna had a sacrifice fly to bring the Matadors within two runs, 5-3.
That was as close as the Matadors got, as the UCONN pitchers retired the last seven batters they faced, while the UCONN offense added two more runs in the ninth.
The Matadors were the ones who had a quick start in Saturday’s game, as they scored two runs in the first inning on an RBI single by D’Anna and DH Chris Allen got an RBI thanks to a throwing error by Huskies third baseman Mike Olt. It all went downhill for the Matadors after that, as UCONN scored 11 unanswered runs to pick up an 11-2 win.
After the shaky first inning, UCONN starting pitcher Greg Nappo settled down and dominated the Matadors picking up his second victory of the season.
The third game started off with an error by Matador shortstop Jason Dabbs, one of three errors in the afternoon for Dabbs, overall the Matadors had five errors. UCONN scored three runs in the first, all of them unearned.
“I don’t think there was panic because we settled down after that,” said starting pitcher Shawn Wilyman, who took the loss for the Matadors. “Actually if anything the errors calmed us down more, because the worse was over.”
Despite out hitting UCONN by six, the Matadors came up short again falling to UCONN 9-7.
After UCONN had back-to-back dominant pitching performances against the Matadors, UCONN had to use six different pitchers to put away the Matadors on Sunday.
The Matadors got on the board in the fourth inning when right fielder C.J. Belanger grounded out to second, but drove in Dominic D’Anna on the play. Justin DeMarco, who went 4-for-4 on the afternoon, followed with a double, and scored on an RBI single by catcher Marty Bowen.
UCONN took a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the eight, however, Bowen cut the lead in half with a two-run home run to left field. UCONN responded with a two-run home run of their own in the ninth by catcher Pavone.
The Matadors were looking to make it a second Sunday in a row with a come from behind win. Ryan Pineda got the Matadors within two runs again with a two-run homer. There would be no dramatic ending this time, as Bowen, who was the tying run, struck out looking for the games final out.
The Matadors were able to avoid a four game sweep by getting a strong pitching effort from Alex Muren and Justen Gorski in their 5-3 victory. The difference in the game was the sixth inning where the Matadors were able to score four runs. Two of the runs came on an RBI single by Marty Bowen, who had three RBIs on the afternoon. Ryan Pineda also had a strong afternoon, going 2-for-3, and CJ Belanger had a strong showing at the plate, going 3-for-4.
“We know that UCONN is an Omaha caliber team,” said Justin DeMarco referring to the site of the College World Series. “These games against them are a step in the right direction for us.”