Rodnunsky Makes CSUN Winner From Start to Finish

Times Staff Writer

What Pierre Rodnunsky started he also finished Saturday in Cal State Northridge's California Collegiate Athletic Assn. doubleheader sweep of Cal State Los Angeles, 17-7 and 9-8.

Rodnunsky, who recently moved into the starting lineup on a regular basis, had two home runs in the first game--including one that led off the Northridge first inning--and ended the second game with a game-winning, run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh.

The freshman shortstop, who has been starting the past week for the injured Chris Pinsak, had four hits, three runs batted in and scored six times in the two games.

He wasn't the only offensive standout, however, on a day when the wind reduced Matador Field to bandbox size. Scott McIntyre also had two home runs for the Matadors and Craig Burns had five hits, including his sixth home run. Tim Rapp had four hits, including a triple and his fourth home run, and John Balfanz snapped out of his slump with an RBI double in the first game and a grand slam and a scoring fly ball in the second.

Balfanz's grand slam, which sailed well over the scoreboard behind the right-field fence, started the Matadors on a comeback that erased an 8-2 deficit in the second game. It was his seventh homer of the season, tying him with McIntyre for the team lead.

"I hope that we showed today what we're about," CSUN Coach Terry Craven said after watching his team outhit Cal State L.A., 26-18. "We got some good run production and we showed the ability to get off the floor and win a game. Knowing your team is capable of doing that really helps when your pitchers are out there battling like ours had to today."

Both starters, Dan Penner in the first game and Jeremy Hernandez in the second, struggled but went the distance. Penner improved his record to 6-3; Hernandez is 5-3. They both appeared stronger at the end than at the start.

The score in the first game was tied, 7-7, after 6 1/2 innings, but the Matadors erupted for three runs in the seventh and seven in the eighth.

In the second game, Cal State L.A. broke a 2-2 tie with six runs in the fourth on four hits, two walks and two hit batters. Hernandez finally ended the inning on a popup to first baseman Balfanz just in time to avoid Craven's hook.

Northridge climbed back into the game in the fifth on Balfanz's slam and a solo homer by Burns. The Matadors tied it, 8-8, in the sixth when Rodnunsky reached base on an infield single, moved to third on an error and another infield single, and scored on a deep fly to center by Balfanz.

Hernandez retired the side in order the last three innings and the Matadors won it in the bottom of the seventh when Rodnunsky lined a two-out single to left, scoring Burns, who walked and advanced to third on a passed ball and a ground out.

The hit made a loser of Scott Moore, who started the day with no record and ended it with two losses. "He struck me out on a curveball in the first game and I figured we would come back with it again," Rodnunsky said. "He did and I was right on it."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
59°