SACRAMENTO, Calif. –
Behind a three-run home run by sophomore Miles Williams, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-1) defeated the Sacramento State Hornets (1-2) 5-3 at John Smith Field on Sunday afternoon. The home run was the first for Northridge this season and the second of Williams' career.
For the second straight day the Matadors fell behind after the first inning, with the Hornets capitalizing on a leadoff triple by Kyle Moses in the bottom of the first. Northridge bounced back in the second as both Marty Bowen and Todd Eskelin drew walks with the count full.
Then came Williams who, on the first pitch of the at-bat, blasted a fastball off of the third level of the parking structure behind the left field fence at the ballpark to give the Matadors a 3-1 lead.
Sacramento State was able to chip away at the lead in the second when David Del Grande singled home a run with two outs. The Hornets tried to start the running game in the bottom of the third with two outs but Northridge freshman catcher Alexis Mercado, playing in his first career game, threw out the runner trying to steal second. Mercado caught two runners on the bases during the game.
Northridge extended its lead in the top of the fourth following an Eskelin walk and a bunt single by Williams. Designated hitter Chester Pak was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Eskelin scored on a double play in the infield.
Moses scored again for Sacramento State in the sixth inning to bring the game within a run and threatened for more, but freshman Brandon Warner entered the game in relief with the bases loaded and induced a fly out.
The Matadors answered back for the final time in the top of the eighth inning to put the margin at 5-3. With the bases loaded and two outs, Brett Balkan was hit by a pitch to force in the run.
Junior left-hander Jacob Petersen (1-0) pitched 5 2/3 innings to earn the win. He allowed just three runs on eight hits. Freshman Jacob Leyba pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save in his first career outing.
Williams led the Matadors offensively by going 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBI. Eskelin went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two walks.
Zach Morgan (0-1) took the loss for the Hornets and Moses ended the game 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
The Matadors will play their 2012 home opener this Tuesday, Feb. 21 against No. 14 UCLA at 2 p.m. at Matador Field. Links for live stats and radio coverage will be available at GoMatadors.com.