Northridge Takes Win, but Game Is Nothing to Write Home About
Ugly is a term usually reserved for ducklings or step-sisters.
It also describes Cal State Northridge’s 11-9 victory Thursday over Cal Lutheran in a non-conference baseball game.
How ugly was it?
“Both of us stunk up the place,” said Kingsmen Coach Al Schoenberger.
During the course of a three-hour contest at Northridge, the teams combined for 12 errors, 4 wild pitches, 2 hit batters and 4 changes in the lead.
Those figures don’t take into account an untold number of misplayed fly balls, base-running mistakes and mental errors.
“We did not do a good job in one phase of the game,” said CSUN Coach Terry Craven. “There’s not one thing that you can say, ‘That’s OK, we’ll do with that.’
“We’re doing a bad job of base running, a bad job at the plate, a bad job of pitching and a bad job on defense. And there’s nothing else left to do.”
At times, it really was that bad.
The low point for the Matadors came in the fifth and sixth innings when five errors and a wild pitch helped Cal Lutheran rally from a 4-3 deficit to an 8-4 lead.
It would be unfair, however, to characterize the Kingsmen rally as only a product of CSUN mistakes. This is the same Cal Lutheran team that scored 57 runs in its first three games this season.
The Kingsmen added nine runs on 15 hits against Northridge. But their own low point proved fatal.
It came in the seventh inning when the Matadors turned 3 hits, 3 walks, 3 errors and 2 wild pitches into 7 runs and an 11-8 lead.
After watching his team drop its first game in four decisions, Schoenberger maintained a sense of perspective.
“You give these big schools an open door and they’re going to kick it in,” he said. “This is only our fourth game. We had not been behind all year, and we battled back to take the lead.
“I’m pleased with our offense and I think we’re going to score enough runs. It’s a matter of our defense settling down over those middle innings. This was just one of those things. That’s what makes baseball a great game.”
In the CSUN dugout, time and patience are commodities in decline for Craven. Following games today and Sunday against Pepperdine, CSUN opens California Collegiate Athletic Assn. play next Friday.
“There are too many negative things happening right now to feel good about it,” he said. “Baseball is definitely a game of streaks, and the streak we’re in right now is not a good one. We have some good moments, but I think our bad moments right now are out-weighing the good ones.”
Suddenly, the Matadors seem a long way from being the club that was ranked second in NCAA Division II in the preseason poll.
“The most overused word in coaching and media language is potential,” Craven said. “Everybody has potential, but I think we legitimately have people who can play.
“My question at this point is, when is that going to come out?”
Jeremy Hernandez (1-1) will be the starting pitcher today against Pepperdine. The game, at Matador Diamond, begins at 2:30 p.m. . . . Dan Gonzales (1-1) will get the start Sunday in a rematch at Pepperdine. . . . Northridge’s win over Cal Lutheran snapped a two-game losing streak.
CAL LUTHERAN--Vanole, Stange (5), McGary (7) and Winn.
CS NORTHRIDGE--LaRosa, Robb (6), Palomarez (8) and Fernandez, McIntyre (8), Muzzey (9).
WP--Robb (1-0); LP--Stange (0-1); S--Palomarez (1).