NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors (8-9) rallied late but fell short, losing 10-8 to the Rhode Island Rams (6-8) on Wednesday afternoon at Matador Field. The two teams combined for 11 runs over the last three innings, as five of the game's seven errors were committed during that time.
The Matadors jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after Marty Bowen singled home Adam Barry in the first inning. Brett Balkan drove in Kyle Attl with a double in the second and Cal Vogelsang brought around Nathan Ring later in the frame to give Northridge a 3-0 advantage.
The Rams began chipping away at the lead in the top of the third as a leadoff triple by Dan Haverstick lead to a run on a sacrifice fly by Tim Caputo. Rhode Island scored two runs to tie the game in the fourth as Pat Fortunato homered to center field.
Northridge quickly answered back and regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Kyle Attl hit a long home run over the left field wall to lead off the inning. The solo shot was his first homer of the season.
Rhode Island took the lead back with three runs in the top of the seventh to go ahead 6-4. With two outs, the Rams put runners on second and third after a walk, a single and a passed ball. An RBI single was followed by a two-run double for the Rams before the inning was over.
The Matadors cut the deficit to 6-5 with one run in the seventh, thanks to a sacrifice fly by Todd Eskelin that scored Miles Williams. Northridge had a runner at third with two outs when a hard line drive was snagged by the Rhode Island second baseman for the third out.
The Rams added four more runs in the top of the eighth to go ahead 10-5 as three hits and three errors helped bring around the eventual winning run in the inning.
Northridge began to mount a comeback effort in the home half of the eigth inning. Ryan Raslowsky reached on a fielding error and later scored as Vogelsang launched his first home run as a Matador over the fence in left center field. Steven Keller came on as a pinch hitter with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and drove in a run with a single but the Matadors could not build on the momentum.
Relief pitcher Rob Curran (1-0) earned the win after 2.1 innings pitched with one run allowed and Mike Bradstreet picked up his fourth save of the year for Rhode Island. Cole Hallum took the loss for the Matadors.
Vogelsang finished the day by going 3-for-5 at the plate with a run scored and three RBIs. Williams, Bowen and Attl each had two hits whild Attl also walked twice and scored two runs. Ring, Barry, Williams and Balkan all doubled for Northridge.
Cal State Northridge will now begin a stretch of the schedule that has the Matadors playing the next 11 games on the road. Northridge begins a three-game series at the University of Portland on Friday, Mar. 16 at 3 p.m.