LONG BEACH, Calif. -
With a 10-5 win at Long Beach State on Thursday night at Blair Field, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (12-12, 1-0 Big West) earned their sixth consecutive victory and improved to 1-0 in conference play for the first time since 2002. Michael Livingston went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBIs and three runs scored to help the Matadors power past the Dirtbags (9-16, 0-1 Big West).
Northridge took the lead from the opening frame and never looked back, scoring twice in the top of the first. After Livingston singled to open the game, a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Attl moved him to second. Nathan Ring and Joshua Goossen-Brown followed with consecutive singles to give CSUN an early 2-0 lead.
The Dirtbags were able to get a run back in the bottom of the first thanks to an RBI fielder's choice by Ino Patron, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the game. Long Beach State tied the game at 2-2 after Patron hit an RBI triple to right field in the bottom of the third.
The Matadors responded, however, with four runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 6-2. With the bases loaded, Livingston drove in a run with a single to right that the right fielder ultimately misplayed. On the error, a second run scored to give CSUN a two-run lead. Attl then laid down a squeeze bunt that scored Ryan Raslowsky and Nathan Ring scored Livingston with a single shortly after.
After a run for Long Beach State in the bottom of the fourth, the Northridge lead ballooned to 9-3 with three runs in the fifth. Livingston drove in another run with a single before Attl plated a pair of runs with a double to the gap in left center.
The Matadors added their final run in the top of the seventh after Alexis Mercado walked to open the inning. Nicolas Osuna followed with a walk and on the fourth ball, Mercado moved up to third on a wild pitch. Raslowsky then reached on a fielder's choice that scored Mercado from third and put CSUN up 10-3.
The Dirtbags scored the final two runs in the bottom of the eighth to draw closer at 10-5. Zack Belanger delivered a pinch-hit RBI single and Zack Rivera later scored him on a fielder's choice.
Northridge starting pitcher Jerry Keel (3-1) went 6.0 strong innings on the mound with five strikeouts to get the win. Keel allowed three runs (two earned) and issued just one walk on the night. Shane Carle (1-4) gave up nine runs in 4.2 innings to take the loss for Long Beach State.
Offensively, Livingston, Ring, Goossen-Brown and Mercado turned in multiple-hit performances while Livingston, Attl and Ring each had multiple RBIs.
The Matadors' current six-game win streak is the team's longest since the 2006 season.
Northridge and Long Beach State will continue their current series with a 6 p.m. game at Blair Field on Friday, March 29. The series finale is scheduled for Saturday, March 30 at 2 p.m.