April 3, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors (16-10, 0-3 BWC) late-game comeback bid fell short Saturday afternoon, as they dropped the finale of their Big West Conference opening series to the UC Irvine Anteaters (17-8, 3-0 BWC) by the score of 7-5 at Matador Field.
Despite the trailing 7-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh, the Matadors showed no quit in the final innings and nearly erased Irvine's advantage.
After UCI retired the first two Matadors in the seventh, the CSUN bats began to come alive. Justin DeMarco singled to Anteater pitcher Eric Pettis before C.J. Belanger stepped to the plate and drilled a double to right center field. The double scored DeMarco and put the Matadors on the board.
In the eighth, CSUN nearly erased the remaining Anteater advantage.
Dominic Piazza led off the frame with a double to left field. Next, TS Reed hit a bouncer to third base that infielder Brian Hernandez could not field cleanly. After the error, Drew Muren laid down a well-placed bunt that loaded the bases.
Ridge Carpenter then laced a double to right center field that brought home Piazza and Reed making the score 7-3.
DeMarco then came to the plate and drew a walk to load the bases again for the Matadors. Next, Belanger hit a single up the middle that scored Muren and Carpenter, cutting the UCI lead to 7-5.
Carpenter's run was the last in the inning, capping a four run, four hit effort.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Matadors would add another hit to their totals but Irvine would secure the final three outs needed to end the game.
The Matadors received another strong outing from Jimmy Jolicoeur who entered the game in-relief in the seventh inning. While Northridge hitters staged their rally in the late innings, Jolicoeur retired all nine Anteaters he faced in his three innings of work that kept the Matadors within striking distance. With three shutout innings on Saturday, Jolicoeur lowered his ERA to an astounding 0.54 over 12 appearances this season.
Nearly half of CSUN’s 10 hits were extra-base hits, as three Matadors combined to drill four doubles. Piazza had two doubles with Carpenter and Belanger earning the other two.
The Matadors will have two days off before they return to the diamond, as they will hit the road for a two-game series at Pepperdine on Monday. First pitch is slated for 3:00 p.m.
UC Irvine 000 104 200 - 7 13 1
Matadors 000 000 140 - 5 10 1
Win – Pettis (5-0) Loss – Ott (2-1) Save- Necke (5)
T- 3:01 A- 439