IRVINE, Calif. -
After rallying back from an early deficit to take a lead yet again, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (18-16, 4-3 Big West) eventually fell 4-3 in 11 innings to the No. 23 UC Irvine Anteaters (22-8, 4-3 Big West) on Friday night at Anteater Ballpark. Northridge erased a 2-0 deficit and led 3-2 in the 10th inning before the Anteaters scored once in the 10th and the winning run in the 11th to stop the Matadors' five-game winning streak.
In a duel of Friday night phenoms on the mound, the Anteaters drew first blood with a run in the bottom of the first inning. After CSUN's Jerry Keel retired the first batter of the inning, Dominique Taylor doubled to left center field and scored on an RBI single by Connor Spencer.
The Anteaters doubled their lead with a run in the bottom of the third after Chris Rabago opened the inning with a single up the middle. Rabago moved up to third after a pair of ground outs and scored on an RBI double down the right field line by Taylor Sparks.
The Matadors responded by scoring a run in the top of the fourth against UC Irvine starter Andrew Thurman. Michael Livingston led off with a double to left center field and moved up to third on a ground out by Kyle Attl. With two outs in the inning, Joshua Goossen-Brown singled through the left side to score Livingston and cut the deficit to 2-1.
Northridge continued to chip away at Thurman and the Anteaters, eventually scoring the tying run in the top of the eighth inning. Designated hitter Kyle Ferramola opened the frame with a double to right field and was lifted for pinch runner William Colantono. After Nicolas Osuna put down a sacrifice bunt to move Colantono to third, Livingston delivered an RBI single up the middle to tie the game.
UC Irvine had the potential go-ahead run on third base in the bottom of the eighth, but CSUN's DJ Milam got Jerry McClanahan to foul out to first base to end the inning. The Anteaters stranded 13 runners in the game.
Neither team scored in the ninth inning, as Goossen-Brown struck out Sparks swinging with the winning run in scoring position to push the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Osuna started things off by reaching on a throwing error by the third baseman before advancing to second on Livingston's sacrifice bunt. Attl followed with a double into the left field corner to score Osuna and put the Matadors ahead 3-2.
However, UC Irvine was able to plate the tying run in the bottom of the 10th and extend the game after an RBI ground out by McClanahan scored catcher Ronnie Shaeffer after an error kept the inning alive.
The Anteaters then scored the winning run on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th with a runner on second and one out. Sparks blooped a 3-2 pitch into shallow right field and Spencer scored on the throw to the plate.
Mitch Merten (3-1) was credited with the win for UC Irvine after pitching a scoreless 11th inning. Brycen Rutherford (0-1) was charged with the loss for the Matadors.
Both Livingston and Ferramola had two-hit games for the Matadors while Livingston, Attl and Goossen-Brown collected RBIs. Keel finished the game with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings on the mound but did not receive a decision.
The two teams will continue their conference series on Saturday, April 13 with a 1 p.m. game at Anteater Ballpark. Sunday's series finale is also scheduled for 1 p.m.