The Cal State Northridge baseball team fell to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 9-3 in an exhibition game held on Feb.14 at Matador Field.
The loss had no effect on the Matadors’ record, which remained 6-3, because it was an exhibition game.
CSUN is the sixth team the Thunderbirds have faced in a California tour that started Feb. 8 against Cal Poly. The Thunderbirds came into the game with a 1-4 record.
The Matadors had little time to prepare for the Thunderbirds as they had just finished a three-game set versus the University of New Orleans.
“We didn’t know a whole lot about them,” said assistant coach Mark Kertenian. “I personally was impressed by their abilities.”
Matador freshman Jimmy Jolicoeur started on the mound, going up against Doug Grant.
All was quiet until the third inning, when the Thunderbirds would go into the highest-scoring inning of the game.
Against junior Joe Rocchio, who came in to pitch in the third, left fielder Adam Campbell hit a one out single and stole second base. First baseman Johnny Yiu followed with a walk and catcher Brendan Kornberger singled to shallow right to load the bases. Tyler Hughes singled to right, scoring the first run. The next batter, Tyler Wilson, hit a grand slam, putting the Thunderbirds up 5-0.
The scoring did not stop for the Thunderbirds as they scored three more runs in the fourth inning.
Third baseman Brett Murray led off with a single and stole second base. Campbell singled to right to score Murray from second. Campbell stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Yiu doubled to left to score Campbell and advanced to third on a single by Kornberger. Yiu would score the final run of the inning on a Matador error.
In the eighth inning, the Thunderbirds scored their final run of the game. Yiu led off with a single to left. Kornberger followed with a double and Yiu scored on a throwing error.
The Matadors scored their first run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Junior catcher Adam Fleener hit a solo home run off of Brad Ashman, putting CSUN on the board.
The Matadors scored two more runs in the bottom of the ninth.
With senior center fielder Paul Wilson on base, sophomore pinch-hitter Brett Blumenthal hit a home run off Tim Henderson, giving the Matadors their final two runs of the game.
The Matadors used eight different pitchers in the game with Jolicoeur pitching the most with two innings of work. CSUN’s pitching staff combined for a total of 11 strikeouts but gave up 14 hits.
No Matador had more than one hit, which resulted in six runners being left on base.
Grant had a solid outing for the Thunderbirds, giving up no runs in seven innings and striking out five.
The Matadors’ starters featured some of last year’s regulars, including Fleener, junior shortstop Raymond Ravago, Paul Wilson, senior third baseman Erik Hagstrom and junior left fielder Chase McGuire.
CSUN has changed its starting lineup since the beginning of the season.
“Regardless of being in season, there’s players competing for jobs and roles,” said Kertenian.
Next up for the Matadors will be a four-game series against Washington, beginning Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. in Northridge.
Victor Flores can be reached at email@example.com.