SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Kyle Attl hit a three-run home run but the Cal State Northridge Matadors (12-18, 1-4 Big West) fell 8-4 to the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (16-13, 4-1 Big West) on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. With the loss, the Matadors will drop the season series to the Gauchos for the first time since 2008 heading into Saturday's finale.
The Gauchos opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as Brett Vertigan lined a triple into the right field corner on the first pitch he saw. With one out, Vertigan scored on a bloop single to left field.
Northridge starter Alex Muren worked out of the inning by inducing a ground ball for a double play. Muren also worked around two-out singles in the second and third to keep UC Santa Barbara from adding runs.
The Matadors tied the game in the top of the fourth after Cal Vogelsang opened the inning with a single to left center. With two outs, Marty Bowen lifted a double over the left fielder on an 0-2 pitch to plate Vogelsang.
UC Santa Barbara was able to regain the lead, however, by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth. After a fielder's choice allowed a run to score from third, Brandon Trinkwon singled home a run with two outs. A fly ball to left field fell on an error that allowed two unearned runs to score to put the Gauchos ahead 5-1.
Northridge came close to tying the game in the top of the sixth following back-to-back one-out singles for Steven Keller and Nathan Ring. After a pitching change, Attl blasted a pitched over the left field fence off of the protective netting at the ballpark for his second home run of the season.
The Gauchos were able to shift the momentum back in their favor in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three runs to give the game its final score of 8-4. Following a sacrifice fly, Vertigan hit a two-run home run just over the outstretched glove of Miles Williams in right field.
Muren (5-3) pitched 5.2 innings and struck out three in the defeat while Austin Pettibone (5-2) took the win for UC Santa Barbara. Jared Wilson pitched the final 3.2 innings to collect his first save of the year.
Vogelsang finished the day 2-for-4 with a run scored, Ring went 2-for-4 with a run scored and Attl led all Matadors with three runs batted in.
The final game of the series between the two programs will take place on Saturday, Apr. 7 at 1 p.m. Left-handed pitcher Jerry Keel (2-1, 1.49 ERA) will get the ball for Northridge and Zak Edgington (1-1, 2.53 ERA) is slated to pitch for UC Santa Barbara.