The UC Davis baseball team had second-place Cal State Northridge right where it wanted the Matadors to be — trailing 5-3 entering the ninth inning.
However, Northridge showed how it’s stayed near the top of the Big West Conference standings as it not only rallied to knot the score and force extra innings but also came up with three more runs for an 8-5 12-inning victory Saturday at Dobbins Stadium.
The Aggies (16-28, 3-14 BWC) posted five runs on 13 hits with one error, while the Matadors (28-18, 13-4) — winners of eight consecutive league games — scored eight runs on 12 hits with two errors.
Northridge reliever D.J. Milam (4-0) picked up the win for two innings of work, giving up no runs on three hits with two strikeouts. UCD reliever Max Cordy (5-6) was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on no hits in two innings. Spencer Koopmans started on the mound for the Aggies and was strong in a no-decision outing, surrendering two runs on four hits in five innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
UCD’s offense came from left-fielder Tino Lipson and first baseman Spencer Henderson, each of whom had three hits. Five different Aggies scored. Matador shortstop Kyle Attl went 3-for-5 with a game-high four RBIs, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning and the game-winning two-run single in the 12th.
In the fifth inning, UCD opened with back-to-back singles and a fielder’s choice. Henderson, a freshman, singled sharply to left to load the bases. After another out, Lipson hit a high chopper to short and beat out the throw, allowing Cameron Olson to score from third.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Attl answered with his two-run shot to left in the sixth. The Aggies tied it in the bottom half of the sixth on Nick Lynch’s sacrifice fly to right.
UCD pushed ahead, 5-3, with three runs on two hits and two errors in the seventh inning. Henderson led off with a single and shortstop Adam Young reached on a fielding error by the pitcher. In the next at-bat, Lipson reached on a throwing error by the pitcher and advanced to third, as Henderson and Young scored. Center fielder John Williams singled to plate Lipson.
In the ninth, Northridge scored two runs on four hits to knot the score yet again and force extra innings.
The Aggies advanced a runner to second on wild pitches in both the bottom of the ninth and the 10th innings but couldn’t push him around to score.
The Matadors broke the deadlock in the 12th. Northridge loaded the bases with no outs on a fielding error by the pitcher, a hit by pitch and a four-pitch walk. Attl followed with a two-run single to right center. Another run scored on a wild pitch.
The Aggies had runners at first and third with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, bringing the tying run to the plate. But Milam forced a pop-out to second to end the game.
UCD and the Matadors will meet for the finale of the three-game series at 1 p.m. on Sunday.