Matadors Complete Sweep with 8-7 Win over Northwestern


Fighting off a furious rally, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (5-2) hung on to defeat the Northwestern Wildcats (1-5) to finish a three-game sweep with an 8-7 victory on Sunday afternoon at Matador Field. Five Matadors collected more than one hit in the game as Northridge recorded 12 total.

Northwestern was able to take the lead first on an unearned run in the second inning. With a runners on first and second and no outs, an errant throw in the infield allowed Geoff Rowan to score.

The Matadors took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second, scoring runs in the second frame for the third straight game. Singles by Marty Bowen, Todd Eskelin and Miles Williams loaded the bases with no outs before freshman Alexis Mercado reached on a fielder's choice and brought in Bowen from third. Brett Balkan followed up with a single to center field to score Eskelin and Northridge led 2-1 after two.

After an Eskelin double scored Attl in the bottom of the third, Northridge took its largest lead at 7-1 with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Cal Vogelsang singled in a run and Attl drove in two with a double before Tommy Simis scored Attl on a sacrifice fly to right field.

Northwestern drew closer with two runs in the fifth on a solo home run by Kyle Ruchim and an RBI double for Jack Havey, but the Matadors extended the lead to 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Vogelsang started things off with a double to left center field and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on a balk.

Those would be the last runs for Northridge as the Wildcats mounted a furious rally in the final innings of play. A three-run seventh comprised of a two-run double and a run scoring on a passed ball was followed by a run in the eighth.

Senior right-hander Justen Gorski was able to get out of the eighth inning by forcing a flyout with the bases loaded and the tying run at third base.

Louis Cohen pitched a scoreless ninth inning with one strikeout to earn the first save of his career.

Jerry Keel (1-0) earned the win for Northridge after pitching five innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. Keel walked three and struck out three. Luke Farrell (0-1) took the loss in his second start of the year for Northwestern.

Attl finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI to pace the Matadors. By going 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, Eskelin has now recorded a hit in all seven games this season.

The three-game sweep is the first for Northridge since the feat was accomplished against Long Beach State in May 2010. The Matadors return to action on Monday, Feb. 27 with a single game against the Washington Huskies. First pitch at Matador Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.