NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Drew Muren’s grand slam in the fourth inning proved to be the difference as Cal State Northridge defeated No. 10 East Carolina 5-3 Wednesday afternoon at Matador Field.
Trailing 2-1 heading to the bottom half of the fourth inning, Muren lifted a 1-1 offering from Shawn Armstrong to right field giving the Matadors' (6-5) the lead for good at 5-2. C.J. Belanger singled to center with one out then took second on Nate Ring’s infield single and ended up on third when TS Reed drew a walk before Muren cleared the bases with his second homer of the season.
In the top of the ninth, the Pirates (7-4) threatened when Devin Harris stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. John Wooten reached on a throwing error by Reed landing on second. Corey Thompson drew his second walk of the afternoon and Cam Freeman was plunked by Jimmy Jolicoeur to load the bases for Harris, who grounded into a double play to third scoring Wooten and cutting the lead to two, 5-3. Jolicoeur recorded the final out getting Austin Homan to ground out to second for his second save of the season.
Billy Ott picked up his first win of the season after working six innings of shutout relief where he allowed three hits, two walks and tied his career-high with seven strikeouts. CSUN starter Bennett Parry allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with two walks in 1.1 innings.
Armstrong, who was making his third appearance of the season and first start, went five innings allowing five runs (all earned) on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Sthil Sowers scattered two hits over three shutout innings of relief with three strikeouts.
ECU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first when Trent Whitehead scored when Kyle Roller attempted to steal second base. Whitehead led off with a single up the middle before taking second before Dustin Harrington extended his hit streak to 19 games with a base knock through the left side. Roller reached on a fielder’s choice pushing Whitehead to third before scoring the game’s first run.
CSUN answered with a run in the bottom half of the frame, knotting the game a one. With two outs Ryan Pineda reached first after being hit by Armstrong then scored on D’Anna Dominic’s double to left center.
Freeman put the Pirates up 2-1 in the second when he crossed home on Harris’ ground out to first base. Freeman walked with one out, move to second on a failed pick off by Parry and then took third on a wild pitch.
Offensively the Pirates were held to five hits with Harrington leading the way with a pair of hits. .
The Pirates will be back in action Thursday when they take on Pepperdine in the first of three games at Eddy D. Field Stadium.
• Dustin Harrington extended his current hitting streak to 19 games with a single through the left side during the first inning.
• Chris Gosik made his first collegiate start in left field going 0-for-1 from the plate.
• Devin Harris drove in two runs picking up his 25th multi-RBI game.
• The Pirates drop to 0-7 all-time when playing games in the state of California and have a 5-8 all-time record against teams from the state of California.