Feb. 19, 2010
COMPTON, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors began the 2010 season in impressive fashion as they defeated the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 18-4 in the first game of the MLB Urban Invitational in Compton, Calif.
Northridge will return to the Urban Youth Academy Saturday afternoon to face the Southern Jaguars at 2:00 pm in a game that will be nationally televised on MLB Network, and streamed online at MLB.com.
With the victory the Matadors improve to a 30-20-2 record all-time in season-opening games.
After finishing the 2009 season as MEAC Champions, Bethune-Cookman started the 2010 season in impressive fashion as they jumped out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to a two-run home run hit in the top of the second inning by Wildcat catcher Peter O'Brien, and another in the following inning by centerfielder Matt Wright.
With the exception of those two pitches, Matador starting pitcher Ryan Juarez pitched a solid game as he threw for a total of 5.2 innings, striking out four in the process as the junior refused to let the Wildcat long-balls affect his performance during the duration of his time on the mound.
After cruising through the first three innings Wildcat starting pitcher, Freshman All-American Ali Simpson encountered his first difficult moment in the bottom of the fourth inning when he walked the first two Matadors in the inning, third baseman Justin DeMarco and left-fielder C.J. Belanger.
With two runners on base, and zero outs in the inning, designated hitter Chris Allen singled to left field to put the first Northridge run on the scoreboard.
CSUN would continue to chip away at the Wildcat advantage the very next inning as Northridge added another two runs to bring the score to a one-run margin at 4-3.
In the fifth, second baseman Ryan Pineda
led off with a single to center field, and then took second once first baseman Dominic D'Anna
drew a walk.
Both would place themselves in scoring position when Simpson threw a wild pitch just moments later.
After another walk was issued to DeMarco, Wildcat coach Mervyl Melendez decided to pull his starter from the game with the bases loaded in an effort to squelch the momentum the Matadors had created.
It was then when the Matador bats began to catch fire as a single by Belanger brought in the first run of the frame, and was soon followed by another Matador run when Allen drew a bases-loaded walk.
CSUN would eventually take the lead in the sixth inning thanks to a nine run, five hit effort; a performance that eventually turned out to be the difference in the game as Bethune-Cookman would not come close to scoring another run for the duration of the game.
Centerfielder Andrew Muren began the scoring spree with his strikeout to lead the inning. However, Wildcat catcher O'Brien could not handle the wild pitch, giving Muren an opportunity to advance to first base on the play.
Pineda then followed with a triple to left-centerfield to drive in Muren, one of his game-high five RBI's on the afternoon, for the first Matador run in the inning.
First baseman D'Anna then belted a double to centerfield to drive in Pineda, eventually advancing to third base on a throwing error.
After DeMarco drew a walk, Belanger reached base on a fielder's choice, scoring D'Anna in the process.
Were it not for another throwing error by Bethune-Cookman, Demarco would have easily been thrown out at second base in the first out of what could have been an inning-ending double play.
Shortstop TS Reed drove in the next Matador run with his single through the middle of the infield, followed by another throwing error during the very next at-bat when Wildcat shortstop Alejandro Sanchez tried to throw out right-fielder Billy Swanson.
After Muren was plucked by an errant pitch to load the bases, Pineda wasted no time in clearing the diamond as he blasted a double down the right field line to add another three runs to the now ever-expanding Matador lead.
A D'Anna single would bring Pineda home for the ninth, and final run of the inning. When all was said and done, 13 Matadors had an at-bat in the inning. What was one a 4-0 Bethune-Cookman lead had quickly flipped into a 12-4 Matador advantage, with the Matador faithful now anxiously waiting for Pineda to return to the batter's box as he was now just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
Instead of playing it safe in an effort to protect their lead, the Matadors continued to stay aggressive at the plate as evidence by DeMarco's lead-off, solo home run in the top of the seventh to jump-start yet another CSUN scoring spree.
After another single from the bat of Belanger, it was pinch-hitter Jason Dabbs' turn to swing a hot bat as his single to right field scored pinch-runner Nate Ring who previously entered the game to run for Belanger.
After Swanson was hit by a pitch, Alex Muren entered the game to pinch-hit for his brother Drew, and picked up his first hit as a Matador with his single to centerfield.
In what would become his final at-bat of the day, Pineda ended up reaching first base on a fielder's choice. Having successfully accomplished three of the four elements needed to hit for the cycle , Pineda finished the game with four hits in five at-bats including two doubles, a triple, and single, and five RBI's.
D'Anna's second double of the day would drive in his third RBI of the game as the Matadors finished the inning having put another five runs on the board.
Having entered the game to replace DeMarco at third base, Tommy Simis immediately made his presence felt as he led off the eighth inning with a solo home run to left field in what would turn out to become the 18th and final run of the day for Northridge.
Catcher Patrick Castillo provided the perfect ending for the Matadors Friday afternoon as he smacked a single into centerfield to pick up the first hit of his collegiate career. With his teammates cheering loudly from the dugout, the Matador faithful in attendance quickly joined in with their cheers directed towards one of the hardest-working student-athletes on the team.
Northridge will return tomorrow afternoon to face the Southern Jaguars in a game that will be televised across the nation on MLB Network, and streamed simultaneously online at MLB.com. Right-handed pitcher Billy Ott will start for CSUN as he faces Jaguar right-hander Jarrett Maloy. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 pm.
Bethune-Cookman 022 000 000 - 4 10 5
Matadors 000 129 51x - 18 20 1
Win - Tremlin (1-0) Loss - Munoz (1-0) Save - None
Time - 3:54 Attendance - 212