The Cal State Northridge baseball team has had little success against USC since the series began in 1962. CSUN, however, doggedly continues to battle the Trojans, and on Wednesday the outcome was familiar.
The Trojans, behind 7 strong innings from former Westlake High pitcher John Reilley, beat the Matadors, 8-2, in a nonconference game at Dedeaux Field. The win gives USC a 32-9 record in the series.
In the past, of course, nobody expected CSUN to cause problems for USC. But with the recent personnel and administrative changes at USC--a new coach and a questionable pitching staff in particular--Wednesday would have been a timely opportunity for CSUN to showcase its talent against a Division I team.
Sometimes, however, a tradition such as USC's can be intimidating.
"We tried to avoid that kind of thing," CSUN Coach Terry Craven said. "But we felt confident coming in because we had beaten them already in the fall. They have really improved."
Especially Reilley. Last season he stumbled, posting a 2-8 record as a junior JC transfer. This season, he is 2-1 and figures to be one of the few bright spots in the USC pitching rotation.
"He is an absolute key for us," USC Coach Mike Gillespie said. CSUN had been hitting well in nonconference games, but was limited to three hits and no runs before coming alive in the seventh inning. "We don't have much pitching depth and we hesitate to go to the bullpen early," added Gillespie.
Northridge first baseman John Balfanz doubled to open the seventh and Chris Pinsak and Tim Rapp followed with one-run doubles. Gillespie then brought in Randy Powers, who closed the book on the Matadors.
"We simply got beat," Craven said. "We did not do the things we are capable of doing, the things we need to win."
What the Matadors needed to do was shut down USC's strengths, hitting and running. The Trojans had 12 hits against three CSUN pitchers, stole three bases and were able to effectively execute the hit-and-run.
"They hit the ball pretty well," Craven said, "and they're a much-improved ball club from what we saw in the fall."
USC scored first, in the first inning. CSUN starter Dan Penner walked leadoff hitter Kevin Janik, formerly of Camarillo High. Kraig Washington singled and after a strikeout, Jim Campanis walked.
Janik then scored on a sacrifice fly.
In the second, Penner gave up three hits and three runs, including a two-run single by Janik.
"We just were not in sync today," Craven said. "We couldn't get anything going."
NORTHRIDGE--Penner, Jaeger (5), Ramirez (7) and McIntyre.
USC--Reilley, Powers (7) and Nichols.
WP--Reilley (2-1); LP--Penner (0-1).
2B: Northridge--Balfanz, Pinsak, Rapp; 3B: USC--Washington.