NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Cal State Northridge collected 16 hits, including eight extra-base hits, as the Matadors (17-28, 5-8 Big West) defeated the UC Davis Aggies (17-24, 3-13 Big West) 13-6 on Friday afternoon at Matador Field. Nico Garbella went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four runs batted in and William Colantono hit his first career home run in the CSUN victory.
"The beginning of the season was rough," said Garbella. "These last few weeks I haven't been trying to do too much. I go up to the plate now knowing that if I stay with my approach, keep my hands inside and take the ball where it is pitched, the results will follow.
The teams combined for 14 doubles on the day, seven apiece, to equal a CSUN single-game record set in a home game against Cal Poly on May 15, 2014. The Matadors' seven doubles were one shy of the program single-game record reached three times, most recently in the same game against the Mustangs.
The Matadors broke out to an early lead against the Aggies, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. The offensive burst matched the six-run inning CSUN had at Bakersfield on Tuesday night in a win.
On the first pitch of the inning, Ranny Lowe was hit by a fastball and took his base. Ryan Raslowsky followed with a single to move Lowe to third before the first run of the game scored on a fielder's choice ground ball from Nick Murphy. Nick Blaser singled up the middle to load the bases before Garbella's first double of the season plated two runs to give CSUN a 3-0 lead.
"The at-bats were good because guys got deep in counts and trusted themselves to hit with two strikes," said CSUN head coach Greg Moore. "The at-bat of the day early was Mercado's. That discipline led to plus counts, which led to big hits."
The Matadors added a run in the bottom of the second when Murphy hit a ground-rule double and eventually scored on an RBI single to left by Garbella.
Cal State Northridge extended its lead to 9-0 with two more runs in the third inning. Lowe hit an RBI double and stole third before scoring on a ground out to second by Raslowsky.
UC Davis started to chip away at the CSUN lead in the middle innings, scoring twice in the fourth and three times in the fifth to put the score at 9-5. John Williams hit a two-run double in the top of the fourth and the Aggies got run-scoring hits from Kevin Barker, Tanner Bily and Spencer Henderson the next inning.
The Matadors produced a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh and added two more in the eighth. After Balkan singled with one out, Colantono smashed the first pitch of his at-bat over the wall in right center. The next inning, Garbella added his final RBI of the day on a single up the middle before scoring from first on a double by Mercado.
The Aggies tacked on a run in the top of the ninth but were unable to string together enough offense to mount a rally. With two outs, an error prolonged the inning and an RBI infield single by Nick Lynch put the final score at 13-6.
Brycen Rutherford (4-4) allowed five runs in 6.1 innings but got enough help from the offense to secure the win for CSUN. Harry Stanwyck (2-6) conceded nine earned runs on 10 hits in 4.0 innings to be hit with the loss.
In addition to Garbella's four RBIs, CSUN got multiple-RBI performances from Balkan (3-for-5, two RBIs) and Colantono (1-for-3, three RBIs).
The Matadors and Aggies will continue their series on Saturday, May 3. First pitch at Matador Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.