The Cal State Northridge baseball team won one out of three games against the UC Riverside Highlanders at Sports Complex in Riverside May 12-14 and defeated the Loyola Marymount Lions in a single game match-up May 16 at Page Stadium.
The Matadors now stand at .500 on the season with a 25-25 record and are 5-10 in Big West conference play.
We’re not pleased where we’re at,” Assistant Coach Mark Kertanian said. “We’re still looking to finish conference strong.”
The Matadors took game one 9-4 thanks to a solid outing by pitcher Chuckie Fick and plenty of run support.
The Matadors broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning when Steve Lemmon drew a walk and James Scott followed with a single. Erik Hagstrom was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Paul Wilson then singled to center field to bring in two runs and give his team a 3-1 lead.
The Matadors scored two more runs in the seventh inning to give them a 5-1 lead. Johnny Coit led off the inning with a double. A Highlander error allowed Coit to score and allowed Jonathan Sakurai to reach third. A single by Lemmon sent Sakurai home to give the Matadors a 5-1 lead.
The Highlanders cut the lead to two runs with a two-out rally in their half of the seventh inning. A double by Brett Bigler sent Aaron Grant home. A single by Brian Steinmeyer scored Bigler to make it 5-3 Matadors.
The Matadors went on to score four more runs in the eighth inning while a home run by Aaron Wible in the ninth, when was the final run of the game.
Fick earned his fifth win of the season, allowing three runs and six hits and struck out four in 6.2 innings of work.
“He went toe to toe with one of the top premiere pitchers in the league,” Kertanian said.
Wilson and Lemmon both went 1-for-4 with one run scored and two RBIs. Scott went 3-for-5 with one RBI and one run scored. Sakurai went 2-for-4 with two runs scored at the lead-off spot.
But the Highlanders took game two by a score of 8-5. A squeeze play broke a 5-5 tie and a two-run double in the seventh secured the Highlander victory.
The Matadors took the early lead in the first inning. A triple by Lemmon sent designated hitter Kris Kasarjian home. Scott singled to bring in the second run of the game.
The Highlanders answered back in their half of the inning. A double by D.J. Hollingsworth brought Grant home to make it 2-1.
The Matadors put up another run in the second inning to make it a 3-1 ballgame but the Highlanders managed to take the lead in their half of the inning when they scored three runs to give them a 4-3 lead.
Another Highlander run scored in the bottom of the third to give them a two run lead.
The Matadors fought back in the seventh inning with an infield single and a wild pitch that allowed Sakurai to reach second base and a Highlander error put runners on the corners. Singles by Lemmon and Jorge Andrade Jr. scored two runs to tie the game at five.
Matt Gaylord received the loss for the Matadors, dropping him to 1-1 on the season. Starting pitcher Edwin Quirarte left the game early, only pitching 1.2 innings. The Highlanders scored four runs against Quirarte.
Lemmon went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Andrade and Sakurai recorded two hits each.
In game three, the Matadors fell behind early and were unable to recover as they lost 16-5.
With UCR leading 8-5, a seven-run inning, including a grand slam by Hollingsworth brought in four of the runs in the seventh gave the Highlanders a commanding lead and secured the win.
Down 2-0 in the second inning, the Matadors cut the Highlander lead to one run on a sacrifice fly by Wilson that brought Andrade home.
In the third inning, the Highlanders started a two-out rally that eventually gave them a 5-1 lead.
The Matadors cut the Highlander lead once again in the fifth inning scoring two runs to make it 5-3.
The Highlanders pulled ahead by five runs in their half of the inning. With bases loaded, a walk brought in the first run of the inning. A single by Bigler brought in two more runs to give them the 8-3 lead.
The Matadors scored a run in the sixth and one in the seventh inning but were unable to catch up.
Craig Baker received his eighth loss of the season. He allowed eight runs and 13 hits and struck out six batters in five innings.
Andrade finished the game with two hits and two runs scored. Sakurai went 2-for-5 with one run and one RBI. Wilson added two RBIs of his own.
After losing the series to the Highlanders, the Matadors traveled to Page Stadium to take on the Loyola Marymount Lions in a non-conference game.
Bobby Paschal started the game for the Matadors taking on Roberto Torres.
The Matadors forced the Lions to reach into their bullpen early as they jumped ahead 6-0 in the first inning.
Sakurai led the game off with a home run, his first home run of the season.
“It’s obviously a rare occasion,” Kertanian said. It was an exciting start to the game.”
With two runners on, Scott hit a three-run home run to give the Matadors a 4-0 lead. CSUN managed to get runners on the corners later in the inning. A groundout and a single by Coit brought in the two last runs of the inning.
The Matadors scored three runs in the third inning, two runs in the fourth inning, and four runs in the fifth inning to put them up 15-0.
The Lions scored their first run of the game in the fifth inning. A sacrifice fly by first baseman Eric Farris scored the only Lions run of the inning.
The Lions scored two more runs in the sixth to make it 15-3.
A solo home run by Wilson in the seventh put the Matadors up 16-1.
The Lions rallied in the seventh scoring six runs to cut the Matador lead and put the game at 16-9.
The Matadors managed to hold on as Paschal earned his first win of the season. He pitched only two innings but received enough run support from the offense to win the game.
Wilson led the Matadors offense going 3-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs scored. Sakurai went 4-for-5 with four RBIs of his own and one run scored.
The Matadors resume conference play May 19 as they take on UC Irvine at Matador Field.
Victor Flores can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.