NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-1) split a doubleheader with the Saint Mary's Gaels (1-2) on Saturday at Matador Field. Junior Miles Williams drove in three runs in an 8-3 win in the first game and added an RBI double in an 8-6 loss in game two.
"Miles has really worked hard throughout the entire Fall and in January and February making some adjustments to his approach at the plate, being more patient, letting the pitch come to him and not trying to do too much," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis. "It's good to see him getting success early."
Northridge used a pair of three-run innings late in the first game to pull away from the Gaels. After Saint Mary's scored their first run of the season on a wild pitch in the second inning, the Matadors were able to even the score on a wild pitch in the third.
In the fourth inning, Joshua Goossen-Brown singled to start things off and scored from first on a double to left center field by Tommy Simis to give CSUN a 2-1 lead. The Matadors then broke the game open with a two-out rally in the fifth.
After a double play cleared the bases for Northridge, senior centerfielder Cal Vogelsang legged out an infield single to extend the inning. Williams, the next batter, hit a two-run home run over the left field fence. Goossen-Brown then singled and scored on a throwing error after an infield single by Nathan Ring to give CSUN a 5-1 advantage.
"I knew the pitcher was pounding me in and I was looking away," said Williams about his home run at-bat. "I was able to get a change up that I got a good swing on."
Northridge extended the margin to 8-1 in the bottom of the sixth with another two-out rally. With runners on the corners, Vogelsang and Williams were hit by pitches to force in a run. Goossen-Brown then drove in two runs with a single through the left side of the infield.
Saint Mary's narrowed the gap with two runs in the seventh inning but could not find the momentum to tie in the final inning. A bases-loaded walk for Collin Ferguson brought home Markus Melgosa and DonAndre Clark scored on a wild pitch with two outs.
Harley Holt (1-0) pitched 4.2 innings in the scheduled seven-inning game to earn his first career victory. He also set a new career high with four strikeouts. Ben Griset (0-1) pitched 4.2 innings and allowed five runs (four earned) in a losing effort.
Williams went 1-for-3 with three RBIs and Goossen-Brown went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Simis and catcher Alexis Mercado each had doubles for CSUN.
The Matadors were unable to carry the momentum over to the second game, however.
The Gaels scored a run in each of the first three innings and added five runs in the middle innings to create a lead as large as 8-2.
Ring hit a solo home run to left center in the second inning for CSUN and Williams doubled home a run in the third to pull the Matadors within a run at 3-2.
Ferguson hit an RBI single and Shawn O'Brien brought in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth for Saint Mary's. Ferguson then cleared the bases with a three-run double in the sixth for the Gaels.
Northridge nearly completed the comeback, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Pinch hitter Michael Livingston drew a lead-off walk and Kyle Attl singled to move him into scoring position. Brett Balkan drove in Livingston with a single and he and Attl then moved up a base on a wild pitch.
The Matadors closed the deficit to 8-6 after Chester Pak singled home Attl and Vogelsang brought in Balkan with a sacrifice fly. Saint Mary's closer Patrick Keane was able to get the final outs of the game, however, to get the save and give the Gaels their first win of the year.
Louis Cohen (0-1) pitched 4.1 innings and allowed five runs in the loss. Jordan Mills (1-0) struck out five Matadors in 6.0 innings for the win.
Balkan, Simis and Williams each collected two hits in the second game and six different Matadors picked up an RBI.
"The first game today, Saint Mary's got momentum in the last inning and it carried over to the start of game two," added Williams. "Hopfully the same goes for us heading into tomorrow."
"College baseball is a momentum game," said Curtis when asked about the team's late rally. "It was important that we did that and hopefully it'll pay off and we'll come out tomorrow and score first, score early, play quality defense and get out of here with a series victory."
The Matadors and Gaels will complete their four-game series on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Matador Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.