Spencer Smith hit two home runs on Tuesday night, including a game-winning three-run shot down the left field line, to lift Northern to a 6-3 win over Riverside.
It marked the fourth time in the last two seasons Smith has hit multiple home runs.
Northern (4-7, 2-3 PAC-6) snapped a three-game losing streak, while Riverside (6-7, 4-3) suffered its second straight loss.
"I can't tell you how much we needed that win," said Northern assistant coach Christian Tardieu. "We've been struggling, been hit with a lot of tough breaks. We needed that and we hope we can build on it."
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Smith hit a solo shot to deep center in the sixth that gave Northern a 3-1 cushion.
"I think early I was chasing in my at-bats," Smith said. "But we're just excited to get the win. It was a team win."
But Riverside came back to tie the game with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh as they finally chased Northern starter Keaton Bradley after he walked the leadoff batter. After Jordan Snow issued another walk, Chris Crabtree doubled in the two runners. But then Snow got the final two outs to leave the game tied heading into Northern's final at-bat.
Smith's game-winner didn't come without a little controversy, though.
The home plate umpire lost sight of the ball as it travelled high over the fence and he had to ask for assistance from the field umpire, who said the ball was fair when it left the field.
Smith said he thought it was fair all the way.
Riverside coach Doug Simmons had a long discussion with the umpires after the game but he said he had to accept the call.
"I don't know what happened on the call," Simmons said. "I couldn't tell if it was fair or foul. Whether it was fair or foul, we put ourselves in that position by putting guys on base and having to face Spencer in that situation. We've got to live with it."
The position of the fair pole at Northern also made the call tricky because it sits in a curved in portion of the outfield fence. Luckily, there were some tall pine trees on the fair side of the pole beyond the fence where field umpire was able to judge the ball fell for the home run.
Tyler Mangum also hit a home run in the first inning for Northern.
Northern 6, Riverside 3
Chris Mitchell, Ray Palma (6) and Kimball Toone. Keaton Bradley, Jordan Snow (7) and Spencer Smith. W—Snow. L—Palma. Leading hitters—Riverside: Chris Crabtree 3-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBIs. Northern: Spencer Smith 2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBIs; Tyler Mangum 1-3, HR, RBI.
Records—Riverside 6-7, 4-3 PAC-6. Northern 4-7, 2-3.