Pacific Baseball: Seven-Run Third Propels Pacific To Series Victory Over Cal State Northridge, 12-4
Despite trailing after the top of the first inning, the Pacific baseball team was able to come from behind and posted a seven-run third inning to clinch the series against Cal State Northridge, 12-4, on Sunday, April 25.
Pacific has now won eight of its nine series played in 2010. With the victory the Tigers improved to 24-14 overall and 7-5 in Big West Conference while the Matadors dropped to 21-17 and 3-6 in conference action.
"Today's game was huge; after losing on Friday, we showed that we can come back and win a series in a tough situation," senior Matt Fuson (Lodi, Calif.) said. "We have a rivalry with Cal State Northridge so it's always good to beat them if only for a personal thing. And anytime you have momentum going into the Cal State Fullerton series is awesome, so we're glad to have that heading into next weekend."
Tied 3-3 entering the bottom of the third frame, junior J.B. Brown (Alvin, Texas) singled through the right side of the field to represent the go-ahead run. Behind Brown came senior Joe Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.), who grounded out to first baseman Dominic D'Anna, but allowed Brown to move into scoring position on the play. With a runner on and one out already recorded in the inning, freshman John Haberman (Stockton, Calif.) drove a 2-1 pitch into right field and put runners at the corners. The table was then set for senior Ben Gorang (Turlock, Calif.), who had a chance to add another sacrifice bunt to his seven on the season. Gorang bunted back up to the pitcher's mound and brought home Brown to take the 4-3 lead with two outs.
Pacific then opened the flood gates with two outs on the board and cycled through its entire line-up. Fuson kept the inning alive with a double into center field and brought home Haberman from second to lead 5-3. Next up, junior Nick Longmire (San Diego, Calif.) worked a four-pitch walk to put runners at first and second. After one extra-base hit had already been tallied in the inning, sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) connected with a 1-1 pitch that looked like right fielder C.J. Belanger was going to have a play on it. However, the wind carried the ball over the right field wall and Christopher tallied a three-run homer to put the Tigers up 8-3. Junior Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) next took his swing at the plate and landed another single off reliever Shawn Wilyman. That's when the Matadors went to the bullpen a second time, calling on Billy Ott.
After Ott loaded the count against senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.), he issued a walk to Walker and moved Martin to second base. Cal State Northridge's woes continued as Ott attempted to pick Walker off at first base, but overthrew and his error allowed for Walker and Martin to both advance into scoring position. For the second time up in the inning, Brown tallied his second hit and drove home both Martin and Walker to take a 10-3 lead at the conclusion of the inning.
In line for the victory, senior RHP Jake Hummel (Peoria, Ariz.) only allowed Cal State Northridge to plate one more run in the top of the fourth before he and junior RHP Robbie Richardson (Lodi, Calif.) combined to shutout the Matadors for the remainder of the game.
Meanwhile, Pacific plated two more of its own in the bottom of the fourth and eighth frames.
Up 10-4 in the fourth, Haberman opened up the inning singling into left field. During a sacrifice bunt attempt, Gorang reached first on a throwing error from third baseman Justin DeMarco and Haberman sprinted all the way around to third base on the error. With a runner standing 90 feet from scoring, Fuson was able to produce for the Tigers once more as he singled up the middle and brought home Haberman to lead 11-4. Four innings later, Gorang worked a full-count pitch to draw a walk in the bottom of the eighth. Fuson followed it up by tallying his third hit of the game with a single through the left side of the field to move Gorang into second. With two runners aboard, Longmire flew out to right field, but Gorang tagged up and advanced to third base. That's when Christopher tallied his fourth RBI of the contest and brought him home with another single through the right side of the diamond for Pacific's final 12-4 Pacific lead.
Earlier in the contest, both pitchers battled through a 33-minute first inning that included five runs between Cal State Northridge and Pacific. Hummel relinquished a home run off the bat of Ryan Pineda only one pitch into the game. That gave the Matadors the first lead of the contest, 1-0. Cal State Northridge came back with another run to cap a quick 2-0 lead.
Down by two heading into the bottom of the first, Pacific rallied back early to erase the deficit with three runs of its own. With one out in the frame, Christopher notched his first single of the game lacing a 1-2 pitch through the right side of the field. Martin then followed up and drew a four-pitch walk to put the tying run on base. With runners in place, Walker launched a double into left center that cleared the bases and tied the score at 2-2. One out later, Walker stole third and put himself 90 feet from scoring. Oliveira next took a free pass as did Haberman to load the bases. Cal State Northridge's starter, Alex Muren, did not even last one complete inning after his back-to-back walks brought out Wilyman from the bullpen with two outs in the inning. Wilyman could not stop Pacific either, after a wild pitch advanced all runners up 90 feet and scored Walker to give Pacific the 3-2 lead.
The Matadors eventually knotted the game up at 3-3 in the top of the third inning, before Pacific put the game away with the seven runs tallied in the bottom half of the frame.
Hummel earned the win on the mound for Pacific and improved to 5-2 on the year while Wilyman suffered the loss and fell to 1-4. Offensively Christopher led Pacific going 3-for-6 at the plate with four RBI. Martin, Walker and Fuson each had three-hit performances to match Christopher's to give way for Pacific's 18 hits in the contest.
The Tigers next host Santa Clara on Wednesday, April 28 at 6 p.m., before taking on conference-leading Cal State Northridge for a three-game set at Klein Family Field kicking off on Friday, April 30.