May 10, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (20-29) defeated the USC Trojans (23-25) on a walk-off single by Jason Dabbs in the eleventh inning that capped off a come-from-behind 5-4 win Sunday afternoon.
Matador Field has now been the site for six walk-off hits on the season. Dabbs has now added his name to the list of Matadors that includes Ryan Pineda (vs. Texas Tech 3/1), John Parham (vs. San Jose State 3/13; Cal State Fullerton 4/9), Justin DeMarco (vs. UC Santa Barbara 3/29), and Tommy Simis (vs. Pepperdine 4/21) as Matadors who have driven in winning runs in their final set of at-bats.
With the score tied at 4-4, Simis led off the eleventh with a single to centerfield. TS Reed would follow with a sacrifice bunt that moved Simis to second base. After a C.J. Belanger walk, Dabbs took to the plate with a chance to send the Matador fans home happy on Mother's Day.
The Matador shortstop would indeed do just that, as he singled to left field off Trojan reliever Daniel Cooper giving Simis the opportunity to hustle home and score the winning run from second.
The Trojans had two separate two-run leads over the Matadors including an early 2-0 lead after four innings and a 4-2 advantage heading to the bottom of the ninth.
In home half of the ninth, Trojan starter Robert Stock looked to go the distance but ran into trouble quickly, as he hit DeMarco on the first pitch he threw. Stock then attempted to pick off DeMarco, but instead missed his intended target in first baseman Rick Oropesa, as his throw sailed down the right field line giving DeMarco enough time to head to second base.
Cooper was called upon to relieve Stock after Simis drew a walk, taking the mound with Matadors on first and second base and nobody out in the inning.
Two batters later, Belanger made his way to the plate and delivered a clutch one-out hit to centerfield that brought the Matadors to within a 4-3 score. Reed, who reached base on a fielder's choice, made it to third on the play.
With the tying run only 90 feet away from scoring, Cooper threw a pitch to Dabbs that got away from catcher Hector Rabago, which scored Reed and tied the game at 4-4.
Cooper got the final two outs to send the game into extra innings, as he retired Dabbs on a popup and Pineda on a flyout to center field.
The Matadors erased an early 2-0 deficit by scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
In the fifth, Chris Hannick and DeMarco started off the inning with a single and a walk respectively. Head Coach Steve Rousey would then employ small ball tactics, as Simis sacrificed himself by bunting both runners into scoring position, giving Jeff Pruitt the opportunity to bring in a run on a groundout.
An inning later, Hannick would tie the game with an RBI single through the left side that scored Richard Cates from second base.
Starter Billy Ott did not figure into the decision, but was effective nonetheless in minimizing the Trojans to three runs in his 6.2 innings pitched, striking out six Trojans along the way.
Brian Slover (3-3) earned the victory by pitching 2.1 scoreless innings including a critical, game-saving play in the eleventh inning.
With runners at the corners and only one out, the Trojans sent right fielder Alex Sherrod to the plate.
Sherrod executed a similar squeeze play in the ninth with second baseman Joe De Pinto running from third giving the Trojans 4-2 lead.
In the top of the eleventh with De Pinto again at third, Sherrod attempted the very same play. Unfortunately for Sherrod, Slover would not let history repeat itself.
The Matador closer would quickly pounce on the baseball and threw home just in time for Parham to tag out De Pinto. After the out at home, Parham wasted no time in relaying the ball to first base, gunning out Sherrod for the third out of the inning.
The momentum created from Parham's head's-up play eventually set the stage for Dabbs' game-winning hit in the bottom half of that same inning to secure the weekend sweep over the visiting Trojans.
The Matadors will conclude their current home-stand with the final home series of the year at Matador Field, as they take on the Pacific Tigers in a three-game series starting Friday afternoon at 3:00pm.
Fans unable to attend can listen to the voice of Matador Baseball Dave Caldwell broadcast all the action from Matador Field or follow along in real-time on GameTracker by visiting www.GoMatadors.com.
USC 011 000 101 00 - 4 13 2
Matadors 000 011 002 01- 5 8 1
Win - Slover (3-3) Loss - Cooper (1-2).
T - 4:45 A - 285