NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
After suffering three consecutive defeats, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (7-12) rebounded with an all-around productive afternoon in an 8-2 win over the Utah Valley University Wolverines (9-13) on Friday at Matador Field. Kyle Ferramola went 2-for-3 in his first start, Nathan Ring added three hits and Miles Williams drove in three runs for the Matadors.
"Hopefully one of the things we're seeing is some leadership develop," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis. "Some guys this week I think took more accountability for their practice work and what they needed to get done offensively to get prepared and I think it showed."
Northridge worked its way back from an early deficit to score eight unanswered runs in the game and every Matador in the starting lineup reached base as the team recorded 12 hits.
Things started to go CSUN's way from the first pitch as starting pitcher Jerry Keel struck out two batters and used just 10 pitches in the top of the first. The Matadors left a runner on base in the bottom half, however, and the Wolverines took advantage their next time up.
In the top of the second, Colby Croft gave Utah Valley the lead with a solo home run to right field with one out. After a one-out single and a sacrifice bunt, the Wolverines extended their lead to 2-0 due to a passed ball followed by a wild pitch by Keel.
The Matadors recovered in the bottom of the second and took the lead in the game for good. Ring picked up his first hit of the game with a single through the left side and promptly stole second base. Chester Pak then walked and Alexis Mercado sacrificed the pair into scoring position with a bunt.
After a fielder's choice, Ferramola lifted a ball that carried to the wall in right field and gave the sophomore a two-run triple in his first Northridge at-bat. Ferramola then scored on a two-out single by Michael Livingston.
"I was trying to battle off and go the other way," Ferramola said. "I didn't get that great of a swing on it, but the wind took it."
"It started in the fall. We let the pitchers hit one day and Kyle was hitting some balls over the batter's eye," added Curtis. "A couple weeks ago talking with the coaching staff we just thought, 'Hey, let's start getting him some swings and see."
Northridge increased its lead to 4-2 in the sixth when Kyle Attl's two-out single to shortstop scored Mercado.
A four-run eighth inning for CSUN put the game out of reach. With one out, William Colantono singled up the middle and Ferramola legged out an infield hit. Ryan Raslowsky then came in as a pinch hitter and doubled off the wall in left, scoring Colantono.
The next batter, Attl, was hit by a pitch to set up Williams with a pair of runners and two outs.
Williams connected on a 2-0 pitch, launching a three-run home run over the batter's eye in center field. The junior now has 21 RBIs and six home runs in 18 games played.
"I was trying to be simple with it and not swing too hard," said Williams. "I just happened to connect."
In addition to the offensive display for Northridge, the CSUN pitching staff turned in a solid performance in limiting the Wolverines to two runs on seven hits. Northridge pitchers struck out 10 Utah Valley batters.
Keel (2-1) struck out six in 6.0 innings of work and allowed one earned run to pick up the win. Harley Holt struck out three and conceded one hit in 2.0 innings and DJ Milam pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the job for CSUN.
Andrew Freter (1-2) lasted 1.2 innings and gave up three runs on three hits to take the loss for the Wolverines.
Ring (3-for-5) matched his career high for hits in a game while Williams collected three RBIs in the same game for the fourth time this year.
"I noticed I've been swinging at some bad pitches lately," said Ring. "I worked on my stance a lot and I shorted up my stance to get the bat through quicker."
The Matadors and Wolverines will continue their series on Saturday, March 23 with a doubleheader at Matador Field. The first game is scheduled for seven innings and will begin at 11 a.m. The second game is set for nine innings and will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first.