The Matadors (17-15) rallied during the later innings of Monday’s game against the University of Washington (8-22) to win 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth.
Northridge struggled to find its groove on the diamond early on, allowing the Huskies to build a six-run lead by the fifth inning. Ultimately, CSUN chipped away and countered Seattle’s run by mounting a comeback.
Northridge was shut out for four straight innings by Washington pitcher Troy Rallings, who only had two innings under his belt before Monday’s game. Rallings was able to hold the Matadors to two runs and three hits with seven strikeouts in his 4.1 innings pitched.
CSUN went down in order in the first, second and fourth innings due to Rallings’ well-placed pitches.
“Their starter did a great job, you’ve got to tip your hat to him,” said head coach Matt Curtis. “He was pounding the bottom of the strike zone. I didn’t think we adjusted quick enough to that, but we did in time.”
CSUN junior pitcher Brycen Rutherford gave up two runs and three hits in his 4.1 innings pitched. The starting pitchers, Rallings and Rutherford, performed well with three scoreless innings.
The Huskies found luck with the wind soaring several pop ups to the fence and beyond. Senior center fielder Nate Ring struggled to catch a hit off the fence leading to a triple in the top of the fourth inning.
“I just try to play as deep as possible and know wherever you think it’s going to go, it’s always going to go farther,” Ring said.
Next up, Husky senior right fielder Michael Camporeale hit a homerun, the first he’s recorded this season, leading to the first lead of the game for Washington 2-0 in the fourth inning.
Seattle seemed to find its rhythm during the fifth with a couple singles, a double and eventually Camporeale’s second home run, which brought his RBI total up to four.
Steadily pacing their rally, the Matadors came through with three runs in the fifth.
Senior shortstop Kyle Attl, a key infielder with five assists, also had two RBI off his double to left field and began CSUN’s comeback in the fifth. Ring had one RBI, but was thrown out after a grounder to shortstop.
Sophomore catcher Alexis Mercado had a successful day hitting, scoring three runs on his three hits. He also chipped in a lone RBI.
Ring hit a homerun, his third this season, in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I was finally able to get a fastball on the outside part (of the plate), so I let it get deep and I was trying to go to the right field the whole time,” Ring said.
CSUN freshman closer DJ Milam returned to form, putting down Washington in order through the eighth and ninth innings, dropping his season ERA to a dominating 1.62.
One run away from the tie, Northridge catcher Alexis Mercado hit a single and then stole second base. Left fielder Anthony Lombardo was put out at first, but Lombardo’s productive at-bat allowed Mercado to advance to third.
Perfectly lined up, freshman third baseman William Colantono singled up the middle hitting Mercado home.
Tied 7-7 in the bottom of the ninth, CSUN benefitted greatly from a Washington error.
Husky pitcher Tyler Kane walked Ring. Afterwards, first baseman Joshua Goossen-Brown — Big West’s Player of the Week — hit a single to third where a throwing error kept him safe. Kane chose to intentionally walk designated hitter Kyle Ferramola and the bases were loaded. Right fielder Chester Pak was at-bat and the infield closed in.
Pak gaged Washington’s star closing pitcher Kane: “I took the first pitch to see what he did and he came with the fastball. He came with another fastball and then when I saw something up, I just poked it to right field.”
The ball soared perfectly down right center field and into the alley. His single brought Ring home and won the game for CSUN.