NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Defense was the story as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (7-7) capitalized on seven errors committed by the Indiana Hoosiers (4-9) en route to a 12-5 victory on Saturday afternoon at Matador Field. With the win, Northridge snapped a four-game losing streak and evened the series with Indiana heading into Sunday's finale.
After the Hoosiers scored twice in the top of the first inning, the Matadors made a number of key plays on defense to keep the game close in the early stages of the game. Tommy Simis, making his first start of the year at first base for Northridge, was able to help turn a double play to end the first inning after Indiana led 2-0 with one out.
Northridge was able to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the first as Nathan Ring hit a leadoff single and eventually advanced to third as Indiana pitcher Drew Leininger threw the ball down the right field line on a failed pickoff attempt. Ring later scored on a groundout by Adam Barry.
Following a leadoff single for the Hoosiers in the top of the second, Northridge starter Alex Muren flashed the leather as he snagged a line drive back up the middle and threw out the runner for a double play. A third double play was collected by the Northridge defense as shortstop Kyle Attl caught a line drive and beat the runner in a foot race back to second base to end the top of the third.
The Matadors rode the momentum and scored nine more runs before Indiana could get on the scoreboard again. Attl reached on an error by the third baseman to open the bottom of the third and later scored as a grounder by Cal Vogelsang was misplayed as well to tie the game at 2-2.
Northridge broke the game open with five runs in the home half of the fourth inning. Simis opened the action with a bunt single to third base and advanced to second as the throw to first sailed wide. He scored as Attl reached base on a throwing error by the shortstop with one out. With the bases loaded and two outs, Adam Barry hit a two-run single to right field and Miles Williams followed with a two-run double to left.
The Matadors tacked on three more in the bottom of the fifth as Balkan was hit by a pitch and later scored on a wild pitch and Attl doubled and came around to score on a balk. Ring scored a run with a single to right field as Ryan Raslowsky, getting the start at second base, scored after walking and stealing second.
The Hoosiers added a run in the top of the sixth to make it 10-3 CSUN after the first batter in the inning, Will Nolden, reached on an error and later scored on a single by Chad Clark with two outs.
Northridge extended its lead with two runs in the sixth as Raslowsky singled home Marty Bowen with two outs. Attl scored once more as Ring reached on an error by the third baseman.
A two-run home run for Indiana's Dillon Dooney in the eighth inning would not be enough to mount a rally as Northridge relief pitcher Harley Holt set the Hoosiers down in order in the ninth to end the game.
Ring (2-for-4, RBI, two runs), Attl (2-for-5, four runs) and Raslowsky (2-for-2, RBI, two runs) were the only Matadors with multiple hits and multiple runs scored on the day. Barry finished the game 1-for-2 with a run scored, three RBIs, three walks and a stolen base.
Muren (3-1) earned the win on the mound for Northridge as the right-hander pitched 7.0 innings and struck out three batters. Leininger (2-1) pitched 4.1 innings and struck out three in the loss.
Northridge, which had just one stolen base coming into the game, stole four bases as Ring led the way with two. Barry and Raslowsky also swiped a bag for the Matadors.
The Matadors return to action against the Hoosiers in the series finale on Sunday, Mar. 11. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Matador Field and all little leaguers ages 13 and under in attendance will receive free admission.