SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
Trailing by two runs in the top of the eighth inning, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-9) rattled off five straight hits and eventually scored four times to defeat the Sacramento State Hornets (8-6) 5-3 on Saturday afternoon at John Smith Field. After losing the opener on Friday, CSUN rebounded with five runs on 10 hits and zero errors to even the series heading into Sunday's finale.
The Matadors briefly led early on in the game after scoring a run in the top of the third. Following a leadoff walk by Joshua Goossen-Brown, Nicolas Osuna walked and Michael Livingston reached on an error to load the bases.
Kyle Attl then brought home Goossen-Brown with a sacrifice fly but the Hornets retired the next two hitters to end the threat.
Sacramento State tied the game in the bottom of the third after they, too, loaded the bases. With two outs and the bases full, Scotty Burcham scored from third on a wild pitch.
The Hornets added a run in the home half of the sixth to take the lead at 2-1. Andrew Ayers opened the inning with a single and advanced to second on a balk. Chris Lewis drove in Ayers with a double down the left field line but he was stranded on the base paths after DJ Milam entered the game and got a pair of strikeouts and a flyout to end the inning.
A run in the bottom of the seventh extended the margin to 3-1 thanks to an RBI ground out by Lewis with the bases loaded.
Northridge responded, however, in a big way. The Matadors were able to take the lead for good in the top of the eighth after five consecutive batters singled to open the inning. Nathan Ring drove in Chester Pak for the first run of the inning with a single to right field.
Ring later crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Goossen-Brown that set the final line at 5-3.
The Hornets made a comeback bid in the bottom of the ninth but it did not turn into anything dangerous. After a leadoff single by Rhys Hoskins, Goossen-Brown got Will Soto to ground into a fielder's choice before Ayers grounded into the game-ending double play.
Northridge starting pitcher Calvin Copping pitched 4.0 innings with a strikeout and two walks before exiting the game. Relief pitcher Harley Holt (2-2) did not allow a run in the seventh inning and was the pitcher of record for CSUN to get the victory. Goossen-Brown pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his second save of the year.
Sutter McLoughlin (1-1) allowed four runs, two earned, in an inning of work for the loss.
The rubber match of the three-game series will take place on Sunday, March 10 with a 12 p.m. start time at John Smith Field.