NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
After conceding an early run for the third consecutive game in the series, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (3-1) scored eight unanswered to defeat the Saint Mary's Gaels (1-3) and win the series on Sunday afternoon at Matador Field. Joshua Goossen-Brown went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and freshman Calvin Copping pitched 6.1 strong innings to earn a win in his first career start.
"Anybody on the West Coast is playing good, quality college baseball and this is a team that beat us two out of three last year," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis. "Coming in and getting a series from them is a really good start."
The Gaels took an early lead on the Matadors after scoring a run in the top of the second. After Shawn O'Brien walked and Connor Hornsby singled with one out, the pair executed a double steal to get into scoring position. Riley Heinzer then grounded out to second base and picked up an RBI as O'Brien scored from third.
The Matadors did not trail for long, however, as they scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning and never looked back. With one out, Chester Pak and Cal Vogelsang singled up the middle on successive pitches. Miles Williams was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Goossen-Brown.
The redshirt junior then singled through the right side of the infield to score Pak and Vogelsang. Due to an error by the right fielder on the play, Williams also scored and Goossen-Brown advanced to third.
Nathan Ring followed with a single to third base with the infield drawn in and Goossen-Brown scored without issue to put the Matadors ahead 4-1.
Northridge added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth to break the game open.
Kyle Attl led off the fourth with an infield single and Ryan Raslowsky hit a ground rule double down the left field line. Pak then scored Attl on a ground out and Raslowsky scored by way of a sacrifice fly by Vogelsang.
In the fifth inning, Brett Balkan and Alexis Mercado singled to start things off. Attl then dropped down a sacrifice bunt and reached first safely for a hit. The third baseman, trying to make a play at first, overthrew his target and allowed both Balkan and Mercado to score to give CSUN an 8-1 cushion.
Saint Mary's scored two runs in the eighth but could not get any closer. With the bases loaded and two outs, Christopher Akmon drove in a pair of runs with a double down the left field line.
In his first appearance for CSUN, Copping (1-0) struck out five hitters, walked two and allowed just three hits to get the win. Michael Coates struck out three in 1.2 innings and Shay Maltese notched a pair of strikeouts in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
"My catcher said to treat it like Fall Ball, just another team with a different uniform," said Copping.
Ryan Brockett (0-1) struck out two batters in 4.0 innings for Saint Mary's but allowed six runs (five earned) in the loss.
Pak, Goossen-Brown, Balkan, Mercado and Attl all recorded multiple hits for CSUN.
"I missed being out here with the guys, nothing is like playing college baseball," said Goossen-Brown, who missed the 2012 season recovering from injury. "It's nice to be a part of this weekend because we did so well. It's good to be a part of this winning weekend."
Northridge will continue its non-conference schedule this week with a home-and-home series against CSU Bakersfield. The Matadors and Roadrunners will play Tuesday night, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. in Bakersfield, Calif., and Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m. at Matador Field.