Some wins, finally

David Denenberg

With Big West Conference play coming up in a few days, the CSUN baseball team (9-12) strung together some much-needed wins over the weekend at Matador Diamond as they took three of four games from Columbia (2-15).

‘The good thing is we found a way to get it done,’ CSUN Head Coach Steve Rousey said. ‘Credit the guys that were in there today and the guys coming off the bench.’ It’s always a good sign when you got guys stepping up and helping in those roles.’

In the first game of the series on Thursday, things got going in the home half of the third inning as the Matadors scored four runs.

Two of those runs came when sophomore third baseman Ryan Pineda dropped in a single to score outfielders C.J. Belanger and Jeff Pruitt.

On the mound for CSUN was junior right-handed pitcher Billy Ott (1-1), who gave his teammates a solid eight innings of work as he struck out seven batters and only gave up two earned runs.

The Matadors got three more runs in the fifth inning and another run in the sixth as senior catcher John Parham was able to drive in Cates, helping his team earn an 8-2 win over the Lions.

The second game, on Friday, didn’t go as well for CSUN as a number of critical Matador fielding errors allowed Columbia to get out to a big lead which they never relinquished.

‘It was just one of those days,’ Pruitt said.’ ‘We got one error and then it just snowballed.’

Columbia was able to exploit freshman left-hander Bryan Harper (1-2) as he pitched only 3.2 innings and gave up six hits and four earned runs as the Matadors lost 10-1.

Due to a predicted Sunday rainout, both team coaches agreed to play a doubleheader on Saturday to close out the series.

During the first game, Matador right-handed pitcher Ryan Juarez (3-2) was solid as he went for 7.2 innings and struck out six batters and only gave up two earned runs.

For a little while, it looked as if Juarez was going to pitch the entire game, but, after allowing Lion players to get in scoring position in the eighth inning, Rousey put sophomore closer Brian Slover in to finish the game. Slover collected his third save of the season as the Matadors won 5-4.

‘I had a real good chance (at pitching a complete game), but I’m glad the ball was given to Slover,’ Juarez said.’ ‘I really trust him behind me. He shuts the door real well.’

The Matadors got all the run support they needed in the fourth inning when designated hitter Chris Hannick got things going with a single to score Parham.

First baseman Dominic D’Anna kept the rally going as he hit a double to score Cates.’ Then RBIs from infielder Jason Dabbs and second baseman Tommy Simis helped the Matadors secure the win.

The final game was a high-scoring affair. It was only the first inning and seven runs had been scored. Columbia led 4-3.

Getting the win for the Matadors was freshman right-handed pitcher Justen Gorski, who struck out four batters and only gave up two earned runs.

Going into the bottom of the seventh inning the Matadors were up by a single run. However, back-to-back homers by Hannick and pinch hitter Todd Eskelin gave CSUN a 10-7 win.

‘We didn’t have a ton of success limiting the hits,’ Columbia coach Brett Boretti said.’ ‘It’s not an easy lineup to pitch to and they have some guys in the top of the lineup that can put pressure on you.’

The Matadors visit Loyola Marymount today at 3 p.m. Conference play starts on Friday with a three-game home series against UC Santa Barbara.