SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors (5-9) lost the opening game of a three-game series 4-3 at the Sacramento State Hornets (8-5) on Friday afternoon at John Smith Field. The Hornets scored a run in the eighth and brought the winning run home with a walk-off single with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Sacramento State opened the scoring in the game with two runs in the second inning. Following a pair of one-out singles, Dane Fujinaka doubled down the right field line to score two runs.
The Matadors responded in the top of the fourth to take the lead, due mostly to playing small ball. After Kyle Attl doubled down the left field line to open the inning, Chester Pak was hit by a pitch.
Miles Williams then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position and Tommy Simis put down a squeeze bunt to score Attl from third. Northridge scored the tying run in the inning when the next batter, Nathan Ring, hit a single through the right side of the infield to score Pak.
Alexis Mercado then doubled to left center to score Ring from first and give CSUN a 3-2 lead.
The Matadors held the edge until the bottom of the eighth when the Hornets tied the game with two outs. Nathan Lukes singled to right field and Rhys Hoskins scored the tying run before another runner, Will Soto was tagged out at third base to end the inning.
Northridge could not regain the lead in the top of the ninth, which allowed Sacramento State to win the game with a run in the home half. With runners on second and third and one out, Davide Del Grande hit an RBI single up the middle for the victory.
Starting pitcher Jerry Keel pitched 6.2 innings with six strikeouts and no walks in a no decision. Relief pitcher Brandon Creel (2-0) picked up the win for the Hornets with three scoreless innings of work while Joshua Goossen-Brown (1-1) took the loss for the Matadors.
Ring went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and run scored for CSUN and has now reached base in 14 consecutive games. Attl, Simis and Mercado all doubled in the game and the latter two also recorded RBIs.
Northridge and Sacramento State will continue their series on Saturday, March 9, with a 1 p.m. game at John Smith Field. The series finale is set for Sunday, March 10, at 12 p.m.