The Cal State Northridge baseball team suffered its first sweep of the season as it fell to the No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas March 10-12.
This was the first meeting between these two teams. The Razorbacks came into the series with a record of 13-1.
Craig Baker started the first game of the series for the Matadors, taking on Nick Schmidt.
Schmidt came into the game with an impressive 0.69 ERA only allowing five hits on the season in 26 innings.
The Matadors were not affected by these stats as they scored three runs and recorded five hits off of Schmidt.
“Our hitters did a good job of hitting him,” said assistant coach Mark Kertenian.
The Matadors got on the board early when junior second baseman Jonathon Sakurai doubled to left and scored on an error.
In the second inning, the Matadors scored again to increase their lead. Junior center fielder Johnny Coit hit a one out single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sakurai. Junior first baseman Jorge Andrade Jr. singled to score Coit from second. Sophomore left fielder Brett Blumenthal followed with a single of his own to score Andrade.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Razorbacks finally got on the board. Second baseman Ben Tschepikow reached first base on a Matador error. First baseman Danny Hamblin followed with a home run to make the score 3-2.
In the sixth, the Matadors scored again. Junior catcher Adam Fleener singled to left to start the inning off. Coit followed with a single, advancing Fleener to third. Fleener then scored on a fielder’s choice by Sakurai to give CSUN a 4-2 lead.
The Razorbacks answered back in their half of the inning. With one out, designated hitter David Hum doubled to left. Shortstop Matt Willard walked to put runners on at first and second. Center fielder Craig Gentry tripled to left center to bring in two runs and tie the game at four. Gentry scored on a ground out to give the Razorbacks their first lead of the game at 5-4.
The Razorbacks increased their lead to two runs in the eighth when two costly Matador errors allowed Gentry to score.
CSUN fell short of a comeback in the ninth. Coit was hit by a pitch and scored on a double to left center by senior Erik Hagstrom. But the game ended with a final score of 6-5.
Baker received the loss, dropping his record to 3-3. He pitched 5.1 innings striking out four. Devin Collis got his first win of the season for the Razorbacks.
“Friday night was a game we should have won,” Kertenian said.
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In game two, freshman Edwin Quirarte took the mound for the Matadors taking on Charles Boyce.
The Razorbacks took the early lead in game two. Gentry led the game off for the Razorbacks with a single to left field. Hamblin hit his second home run of the series to drive in two runs. Catcher Brian Walker followed with a walk and advanced to second on a single by second baseman James Ewing. Hum singled to drive in the third and final run of the inning for the Razorbacks.
The Matadors’ only run of the game came in the third inning when freshman right fielder Richard Cates singled to right and reached third on a double by junior catcher Steve Lemmon. Cates scored on a groundball to second by junior second baseman Alex Bardeguez.
The Razorbacks scored back-to-back runs in the fifth and sixth to give them a 5-1 advantage.
The Razorbacks scored three more runs in the eighth. Walker singled with runners on second and third to drive in two runs. Ewing followed with a double, bringing in the final run of the game.
Quirarte left the game in the second inning after giving up five hits and three runs. Freshman Jimmy Jolicoeur pitched the most innings in the game for the Matadors. Jolicoeur pitched four innings, giving up two runs, one of which was unearned.
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Junior Bobby Paschal took the mound for the Matadors in the final game of the series against Chris Rhoads.
The Razorbacks jumped ahead in the first inning scoring four runs. Gentry led off with a single and right fielder Chris Hollensworth walked to put two runners on. Gentry stole third base and scored on two Matador errors.
Hollensworth reached third and scored on a wild pitch to give the Razorbacks their first two runs. Ewing followed with a walk and reached second on the third Matador error of the inning. Designated hitter Clint Arnold singled to score Ewing and Arnold advanced to second on the throw home. Arnold advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Jake Dugger.
The Razorbacks scored again in the second inning when shortstop Matt Williard homered to give them a 5-0 advantage.
The Matadors scored their first run of the game in the third inning when Blumenthal singled to bring Coit him home.
CSUN scored again in the fourth inning. Andrade hit a lead off double and freshman shortstop Scott Lyons reached first on an error by Hamblin that also advanced Andrade to third. Lemmon laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Andrade. Coit hit a two run shot to bring the Matadors to within one run at 5-4.
The Razorbacks, however, took a commanding lead in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, third baseman Blake Parker doubled to left center to drive in three runs and give the Razorbacks an 8-4 lead.
The Matadors scored the final two runs of the game in the eighth inning. Andrade homered with one man on base to make the score 8-6.
Paschal got his first loss of the season. He pitched 4.1 innings, recording three strikeouts. Brettl put up solid relief in 2.2 innings, allowing no runs and two hits. Brian McLelland picked up the win for the Razorbacks, giving him his second win of the season.
Coit finished the series going five for eight with two RBIs and four runs scored. Coit only appeared in two of the games against the Razorbacks.
The Matadors return home against Loyola Marymount March 17 at 2 p.m. at Matador Field.
Victor Flores can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.