A four-run 10th inning allowed the CSUN baseball team to beat UC Irvine and win its first conference game of the season, 8-4 Sunday afternoon at Anteater Ballpark.
With the comeback, CSUN avoided another three-game sweep by a conference opponent. CSUN had been defeated 15-2 and 6-2 in the first two games of the series, thanks to strong Irvine pitching performances.
Trailing 4-1 to begin the sixth inning of game three, the Matadors scored three to tie it up.
Senior first baseman Drew Aguailar singled to start the rally and was followed by junior left fielder Michael Paulk who promptly crushed his second home run of the game, this time over the center field wall, pulling the Matadors within a run.
One out later, senior third baseman Alberto Quintana singled and was followed by senior center fielder Johnny Coit who looped a single to center. On the play, the ball got by center fielder Ollie Linton, allowing Quintana to score and tie the game at four.
After neither team scored over the next three innings, CSUN put up four more runs in the top of the 10th. Freshman Jeff Tezak had a pinch double to lead off the inning and sophomore shortstop Raymond Ravago singled him home with the winning run.
CSUN went on to score three more runs in the inning on RBI singles by senior outfielder John Voita and junior designated hitter Luke Riordan and a sacrifice fly by Coit.
Joe Rocchio pitched brilliantly over the final 5 1/3 innings in relief of starter Jimmy Brettl to get the win. He allowed just two hits, walked two and struck out six to get the win, his fourth of the season.
Brettl had given up four runs, one earned, in 4 2/3 innings while striking out three and walking one. The two home runs for Paulk give him a team-high nine for the season.
Irvines’ Nash Robertson pitched 1 1/3 innings for Irvine giving up all four 10th inning runs in recording the loss.
Starting pitcher Steve Schroer allowed four runs in seven innings while striking out eight Matador batters.
The Matadors however were not nearly as successful in the series’ first two games, as their pitching and defense broke down.
In game one, the Matadors’ Peter Eberhardt was roughed up for nine runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings, and reliever Ivan Lopez didn’t fare much better allowing six runs in 2 1/3 innings of the blowout loss.
After CSUN had tied the game at two in the top of the fourth, Irvine went on to score 13 runs over the next four innings to leave CSUN in an insurmountable hole.
Of the 15 runs allowed though, only six were earned as CSUN committed five errors in the game. For Irvine, Chris Nicoll allowed just two runs on seven hits in eight strong innings and had 12 strikeouts.
Irvine had six players with two or more hits in the game, while Coit was the only CSUN player to collect more than one hit, finishing with two.
The 15 runs allowed by CSUN marked the eleventh time the Matadors have given up 10 or more runs in a game this season. The Matadors are just 1-10 in those games.
In game two of the series CSUN was shut down again as Irvine’s Justin Cassel pitched a complete game, allowing just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts to improve to 6-2.
Craig Baker took the loss for CSUN, giving up all six runs on 11 hits in six innings falling to 4-5 on the season. Kyle Jean and Matt Gaylord combined to finish out the game, allowing just two hits.
Irvine’s No. 9 hitter Brett Dalton went 4-4 in the game with a triple and two runs scored to lead the Anteater attack. For the Matadors, Ravago and catcher Adam Fleener each had a pair of hits and scored the only Matador runs.
Losing two of three games dropped CSUN’s overall record to 15-25-1, including 1-14 in Big West Conference play. With their victories, Irvine improved its record to 23-18 and 6-6 in the conference.
Irvine is tied for fourth in the conference, while the Matadors are in last.