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Home Sports CSUN Defeats UCI in Neck-and-Neck Game

CSUN Defeats UCI in Neck-and-Neck Game

The UC Irvine Baseball team (15-8, 9-1) took on Cal State University Northridge (4-6, 4-6) and lost 8-7 at the Matador Baseball Field on April 2. This game was a battle amongst both teams going neck-and-neck leading into extra innings, revealing great offensive and defensive skills from both teams.

After defeating the University of Hawaii, the Anteaters were ready to fight on the opponent’s playing field to defeat the Matadors. This resulted in an intense offense, despite the slow start they initially had in the game. They continued to persevere, making this game a back and forth scoring battle. 

Beginning with the first inning, CSUN had junior pitcher Blake Sodersten at the mound, shutting down the Anteaters from any chance to score. On the other end, Irvine’s junior pitcher, Trenton Denholm, also prevented the Matadors from scoring with the help of his team’s immense defensive skills. 

However, the Anteaters lost some ground in the second inning due to sloppy defense. Unable to score at the top of the second, Northridge quenched the scoring drought and obtained the necessary hits to take the lead, 1-0. 

Denholm had a rocky performance and walked multiple players, leading to loaded bases. Simple base hits from CSUN’s redshirt junior infielder Brandon Bohning and junior outfielder Denzel Clarke brought in multiple runs for the Matadors, increasing the lead 5-0, only within the second inning. 

CSUN’s confidence boost shone brightly on the field, but the Anteaters didn’t back down. With one on base, Irvine’s junior catcher Dillon Tatum scored a home run, bumping the score to 5-2. However, in the bottom of the fourth, Northridge’s redshirt senior catcher/infielder Jose Ruiz hit a double, with players on base increasing the score 6-2.

The bottom of the fifth had a close call that would have resulted in the Matadors holding a 9-2 lead. CSUN’s senior utility Kai Moody seemingly hit a home run, which would have brought two other players home. However, officials called foul after Moody hit the foul post. 

From the sixth to the eighth inning, both teams found themselves in another scoring drought. Reaching the top of the ninth, the Anteaters had one chance to tie up the game, four runs behind the Matadors. With senior infielder Adrian Damla scoring a hit, UCI’s junior infielder Justin Torres hit a double, allowing Damla to score 6-3. 

The Anteaters soon found a rhythm with their necessary hits and runs. Torres reached home plate on a wild CSUN pitch, decreasing the lead 6-4. With two outs left, redshirt sophomore infielder Jake Cosgrove and redshirt freshman outfielder Nathan Church had hits and tied up the game. To end the top, junior outfielder Mike Peabody scored one last run to put the Anteaters ahead, 7-6.

With an eventful top of the ninth, the pressure was on for Northridge on whether or not they could tie this game up. Sure enough, redshirt senior outfielder Robert Bullard hit a base hit in order for freshman infielder Nathan Barraza to score 7-7. 

The win was up in the air as the teams played through both a tenth and eleventh inning back to back with no runs. The Anteaters went scoreless down to the twelfth inning, the last after being postponed to the following afternoon due to darkness. After a night of rest, the CSUN players seemed rejuvenated as CSUN freshman infielder Ryan Ball hit a home run to end the game, 8-7.

Though UCI lost their first game against CSUN, they won against the Matadors in their second matchup just 40 minutes after, 17-3.

The Anteaters looked to continue their dominance on the field as they played CSUN one more time in a doubleheader at the Matador Baseball Field on April 4. They lost the first game, 6-9, but redeemed themselves in the second, winning 20-3.

The Anteaters face off UC San DIego at Cicerone Field at the Anteater Ballpark on April 9.

Malia Nazario is a Staff Writer. She can be reached at mnazario@uci.edu.