The Matadors’ baseball team defeated visiting University of San Diego (16-9) in an 8-4 upset, despite a controversial call by the home plate umpire that took back two runs in the sixth.
Redshirt junior first baseman Josh Goossen-Brown started the bottom of the sixth inning with a single up the middle for Northridge (11-12), followed by senior center fielder Nate Ring’s third hit of the game, a bunt single. Ring advanced to second after a throwing error by the Toreros. This was followed by an intentional walk that loaded the bases.
With the bases loaded, sophomore catcher Alexis Mercado laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring one run and a second on a throwing error. Mercado was ruled out, deemed as interfering with the throw, nullifying the two runs and keeping the score 2-0.
“Our guys are understanding that calls are going to happen, errors are going to happen, you’re going to make mistakes and you got to persevere and push through and they did a good job,” said head coach Matt Curtis.
The Matadors were first to score, starting with a single to right field by Ring in the bottom of the second. Ring stole second and after a walk to redshirt sophomore DH Kyle Ferramola, a sacrifice bunt by redshirt sophomore right fielder Chester Pak advanced the runners to second and third. Mercado’s RBI groundout would score Ring for the only run of the inning.
“I have been working a lot on my swing in the cage so i was just trying to get a lot a lot of fastballs and trying to put a good swing on it,” said Ring, who had a career-high 5-for-5 night, along with two runs and two RBIs. “I was trying to get my foot down earlier and it just worked out today.”
Pitching a perfect game through 4.2 innings, sophomore pitcher Brandon Warner gave up a single and double, but escaped the jam with a groundout. Warner pitched five innings, striking out one and giving up two hits.
The Toreros would tie the game at two in the seventh after a double gave them their first run of the game, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out. A chopper to the pitcher recorded the second out on a fielder’s choice, scoring a second run.
After a walk, single, double steal and hit by pitch to begin the bottom of the seventh, Ring was up to bat with the bases loaded. Making a pitching change after throwing two balls to Ring, USD fell behind in the count 3-1. Ring doubled down the left field line on the next pitch, bringing in two runners for a 4-2 lead.
“I was in a good count already so I knew he was going to come with a fastball and I was able to put a good swing on it,” Ring said. “So I wasn’t worried about the pitching change.”
Breaking the game open in the eighth inning, CSUN tacked on four more runs, capitalizing on a USD miscue.
In the ninth the Toreros scored two, threatening for more with runners at first and second with no outs. A strikeout ended the game, giving Northridge a win in their last game before conference play.
“Today was a big win, we needed it,” Ring said. “We start conference this weekend so looking forward to it.”