The Cal State Northridge baseball team improved its record to 12-14 on the season after taking two out of three from the Loyola Marymount Lions, and defeating the Dartmouth Big Green in a single game match-up March 17-20.
The Matadors took on the Lions at Matador field on March 17 and 18 before heading to Page Stadium for the final game of their series March 19. CSUN then returned home for a game against the Big Green March 20.
Junior Craig Baker took the mound for the Matadors with a record of 3-3 and a 3.69 ERA. Brad Meyers started for the Lions coming into the game with a record of 2-2 and a 3.61 ERA.
Baker got off to a strong start, striking out five batters in the first two innings. The Matadors, however, would lose control of the game in the third.
LMU shortstop Michael Glomb led the inning off with a base hit and reached second off a sacrifice bunt by left fielder DeAndre Miller. Designated hitter Brian Wilson doubled to right, scoring Glomb. Center fielder Chris Pettit followed with a double down the left field line to score Wilson. Right fielder Erik Johnson singled to right and reached second on a throwing error that also allowed Wilson to score. First baseman A.J. LaMonda followed up with a single to score Johnson. A Matador throwing error allowed runners to reach second and third. With two outs, third baseman Kyle Mura laid down a bunt single that allowed the final run of the inning to score. The Lions scored five runs in the inning off six hits and two Matador errors.
For the third straight inning, the Lions added to their lead. LMU recorded three more runs in the top of the fifth to give them a commanding 9-0 lead.
The final run of the game came in the sixth inning and gave the Lions a 10-0 win.
The Matadors recorded only two hits in the game against three Lion pitchers. Junior Jonathon Sakurai and freshman John Parham recorded the only two hits for the Matadors.
CSUN also had a sloppy defensive effort, recording six errors in the game. Baker pitched only three innings but struckout five.
In game two, sophomore Chuckie Fick started on the mound taking on Andy Beal. Fick had not pitched since Feb. 26 against UC Riverside.
In the second inning, the Lions jumped ahead by a run off a single by Mura scored Pettit from second.
The Matadors answered back in their half of the inning. Junior first baseman Jorge Andrade Jr. walked and reached third off a single by freshman designated hitter Richard Cates. Freshman shortstop Scott Lyons singled to right to bring in the Matadors’ first run of the series.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Lions regained the lead when Johnson singled to left and stole second. A double to right scored Johnson to give LMU a 2-1 lead.
The lead would not last as the Matadors jumped ahead in the bottom of the fourth. Three consecutive singles by Andrade, freshman designated hitter Richard Cates, and Lyons gave the Matadors their first runs of the inning.
Junior catcher Steve Lemmon doubled to right to bring around two more runs. Lemmon advanced to third on a groundball to second by junior third baseman Todd Shelton. A sacrifice fly by Sakurai brought across the final run of the inning for the Matadors, giving CSUN a 5-2 lead.
The Matadors scored once more in the top of the eighth, but the Lions answered with a run of their own in the top of the ninth. CSUN, however, managed to hold off the Lions and get a 6-3 victory.
Fick recorded his second win of the season with seven strikeouts in five innings. He allowed only two runs on seven hits.
“(It) felt good to be back on the mound,” Fick said. “It felt good to come back and win one.”
Freshman Edwin Quirarte provided solid relief for the Matadors, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing only one run. Junior Joe Rocchio earned his second save of the season. Lemmon and Cates finished the game with two hits and two RBIs each.
“Today it feels real good to be home,” said head coach Steve Rousey. “Yesterday I wasn’t all that excited about it.”
In game three, senior Jimmy Brettl started his first game of the season against Daniel Macias.
The Matadors got off to an early start. With one out in the first inning, CSUN hit six straight singles to jump out ahead of the Lions 3-0.
LMU answered back in the bottom of the first when Johnson scored from second on a single by Mura. Singles by Pettit and Wilson scored Mura to make it a 3-2 game.
In the third inning, the Matadors pulled ahead by two runs. Sophomore designated hitter Rodney McMahon singled to right and scored on a double by Lemmon to make it 4-2.
The Matadors struck once again in the top of the sixth inning. Sakurai hit a two-out single to right to score junior shortstop Raymond Ravago to give CSUN a 5-2 lead.
The Matadors scored their final two runs of the game in the top of the eighth.
Brettl pitched six innings, giving up two runs and seven hits. He recorded his third win of the season and improved his record to 3-1.
In the game versus Dartmouth, freshman Jimmy Jolicoeur took the mound against the Big Green’s Jeff Wilkerson.
The Matadors took a 1-0 advantage in the first inning off a single by Andrade which sent Lyons home for the early score.
The Big Green saw a chance to take a huge advantage in the third inning. They loaded the bases with only one out. Jolicoeur hit designated hitter Tommy Myette to bring in a run. Senior Matt Gaylord was brought in to relieve and managed to get the Matadors out of the inning without allowing any more runs. A strikeout and a pop-up to short ended the Big Green’s potential rally.
Dartmouth managed to take a lead in the top of the fourth inning. A solo homerun by left fielder Jason Blydell gave them a 2-1 advantage.
The Matadors, however, evened things up in the sixth inning when Lemmon doubled to score left fielder James Scott from third.
In the top of the seventh, center fielder Will Bashelor singled to start things off for the Big Green. Blydell was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. A fielder’s choice and an error sent two runs across the plate to give the Big Green a 4-2 edge.
Dartmouth’s defense allowed the Matadors back in the game in the bottom of the seventh. Junior center fielder Johnny Coit led off with a single and advanced to third on a Big Green error. A single by Lyons drove Coit home to cut the lead to 4-3. Lyons stole second and reached third on another error that also allowed Andrade to reach base.
A sacrifice fly by Cates tied the game at four. Junior designated hitter Kris Kasarjian singled to score Andrade and take the 5-4 lead. The Matadors managed to hold them off for the rest of the game.
Rocchio earned the win to improve his record to 2-0 on the season.
Lyons finished the day going three for five with one RBI. Ravago and Coit each recorded two hits each in the game.
“Hopefully (these games) means we can get on track,” Rousey said.
The Matadors will hit the road to take on Cal Poly March 24-26 in a non-conference match-up.
Victor Flores can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.