DAVIS, Calif. -
Senior shortstop Kyle Attl drove in four runs, including two in the 12th inning, and freshman DJ Milam pitched two scoreless innings of relief as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (28-18, 13-4 Big West) rallied for an 8-5 win in extra innings at UC Davis (16-28, 3-14 Big West) on Saturday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium. Attl also hit a two-run home run as the Matadors clinched their first series at the home of the Aggies in school history.
"It's just been a good group of overcoming adversity. Starting since our slow start, losing guys with injuries, various things that we've been through and they just continue to come out and put a good effort together no matter what the situation," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis. "Also within a game, they've shown the ability to come out and do that and come from behind in certain situations. They did it again today."
Both starting pitchers were on a roll early in the game as the two sides combined for just four hits through the first four innings of play. UC Davis opened the scoring with a single run in the bottom of the fifth.
With one out in the inning, Spencer Henderson singled to load the bases before Tino Lipson chopped a ball behind the mound with two outs. Attl played the ball on the in-between hop and threw to first but Lipson was ruled safe and the first Aggie run came across to score.
The Matadors responded, however, with three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead. Michael Livingston drew a walk to start the inning before Attl launched his first home run of the season over the left field fence. Catcher Alexis Mercado drove a run in later in the inning as his sacrifice fly to center field scored Joshua Goossen-Brown from third.
"I just tried to get it done early and get a good pitch. Take a good whack at it," said Attl. "Today it just worked out pretty good."
UC Davis got a run back to inch closer at 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth. With a man on third and one out, Nick Lynch hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Paul Politi.
The Aggies added three in the seventh to regain the lead at 5-3. Northridge committed two errors on bunt plays that allowed the inning to continue. The second came on the throw to first and two runners came around to score as the ball wound up in right field. John Williams picked up an RBI on the final run in the inning with a single to center field.
Down to their final three outs, the Matadors were able to string together timely at-bats to force a bottom of the ninth. In the top half, Mercado led off with a double down the right field line and scored on an RBI single by Cal Vogelsang.
Goossen-Brown took over the duties on the mound in the ninth and 10th innings and kept the Aggies off the scoreboard after CSUN got scoreless outings from Anthony Cortez and Oscar Sandoval. DJ Milam relieved Goossen-Brown and pitched the final two innings for Northridge.
In the top of the 12th the Matadors pushed across three runs to complete their rally. Anthony Lombardo reached on an error by the pitcher before Osuna was hit by a pitch that hit his neck. Osuna would remain in the game and played a big part in the Matadors' runs.
Livingston followed with his third walk of the game to load the bases for CSUN before Attl delivered a two-run single to right center that scored Lombardo and Osuna. Livingston eventually came around on a wild pitch to put the Matadors ahead 8-5.
Milam (4-0) worked around two hits in the bottom of the 12th to pick up the win.
"I just got my fastball down and hit my spots and luckily I got them to pop out and hit ground balls," said Milam.
He finished the day with two strikeouts and no walks in two innings of work. Max Cordy (5-6), the closer for UC Davis, took the loss after allowing two runs in two innings.
Attl led the Matadors offensively by going 3-for-5 with four RBIs and Mercado added a 3-for-4 day of his own.
"Our offense is really about the team. It's a different guy everyday who's getting the clutch hit," added Curtis. "It's nice to see as the tail end of the season, especially in the tough times in the tough games, that you see your seniors or your captains step up and they've done that."
The Matadors and Aggies will conclude their three-game series on Sunday, May 5. First pitch from Dobbins Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.