EUGENE, Ore. -
Despite getting a two-run home run from Miles Williams in the top of the first inning, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (5-7) fell to the No. 15 Oregon Ducks (9-3) 12-4 on Monday night at PK Park. Oregon cashed in on a pair of five-run innings to twice steal away the momentum from the Matadors.
Williams got the Northridge bench on its feet early in the game with his fourth homer of the campaign. With one out in the opening half-inning, Chester Pak singled to left center before advancing on a wild pitch. Williams then cleared the left field wall with room to spare to give CSUN a 2-0 lead.
Northridge starting pitcher John Salas rode the wave of momentum into the bottom half and retired the side in order. He also got a pair of strikeouts to immediately improve his season high mark.
In the bottom of the second, the Ducks had runners on the corners with one out following an error before Salas shut down the attack with his third strikeout and a pop up.
Oregon cut into the Northridge lead in the bottom of the third, however, with a two-out rally. Ryan Hambright singled and stole second before Ryon Healy brought him home with a hit of his own.
The Ducks opened up the game for the first time in the bottom of the fourth by scoring five consecutive runs with one out. After the leadoff hitter was retired on a fly ball the next six batters reached base, capped off by an RBI double for Scott Heineman that made the score 6-2 Oregon.
The lead for Oregon extended to five runs in the bottom of the fifth on one of the stranger plays in the game. Brett Thomas singled on a ball that hit the back of CSUN pitcher Louis Cohen. In trying to get the out at first, catcher Alexis Mercado's throw went wide of first and Thomas came all away around to score on the three-base error.
The Matadors refused to be kept down, though, and began to chip away at the lead in the sixth. After a leadoff double for Nate Ring, Joshua Goossen-Brown picked up an RBI on a ground out to third base.
Oregon had a prime chance to tack more runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh had it not been for clutch pitching by freshman Oscar Sandoval. Making his second appearance of the year, Sandoval entered the game with runners on second and third and no outs.
He immediately got a ground out that kept the runners from advancing before issuing an intentional walk to load the bases. Sandoval then got a strikeout and pop up to escape the threat and keep the margin at four runs.
Northridge, reenergized by the shift in momentum, looked poised to tie the game in the eighth and had a runner on base following a one-out walk by Goossen-Brown. Freshman Nicolas Osuna singled before the Matadors began to rally with two outs.
Kyle Attl singled to left center to score Goossen-Brown and Chester Pak walked to load the bases and put the tying run on. With a 2-0 count to Williams, the Ducks brought in All-American reliever Jimmie Sherfy. Sherfy was able to nibble at the edge of the box to get a strikeout and end the inning.
Oregon responded with another five-run inning, this time putting the game out of reach. Healy hit a one-out three-run double to left and Steven Packard hit a two-run triple for the Ducks.
Brando Tessar (1-0) pitched 2.1 innings with a strikeout for the win. Salas (0-2) was given the loss after pitching a season-high 3.1 innings with three strikeouts for CSUN. Sherfy pitched the final 1.1 innings for the save.
The Matadors recorded 10 hits on the night, two each for Williams, Attl, Pak, Ring and Osuna. Williams has now driven in seven runs over the last three games and has 14 through 12 games in 2013.
Northridge and Oregon will face off one more time in the regular season with a 12 p.m. game scheduled for Tuesday, March 5 at PK Park.