Even though his team had clinched second place in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. and is likely headed for the Division II West Regional, Cal State Northridge Coach Terry Craven knew the importance of Saturday night’s season finale at Cal State Los Angeles.
“It’s a last impression for the selection committee,” said Craven, whose club dropped an 11-6 loss to the Golden Eagles. “We lost to third-place Cal Poly Pomona the other day, and a loss to Cal State L.A., which is near the bottom of our league, could weigh heavily in their minds.”
Another factor that might determine CSUN’s status for postseason action is that while CSUN batters have been busy setting new offensive records all season, its pitching staff has had problems holding leads.
So, it came as little surprise when a 5-2 CSUN lead became a 6-5 deficit in the fifth inning on a grand slam by Cal State L.A.'s Joe Butler.
The roof fell in on Cal State L.A. starter Bill Bene in the fourth after a walk to Scott Stewart and two-out error by shortstop Mica Lewis. Pierre Rodnunsky singled in Stewart to tie the game at 2-2. A Jim Vatcher double brought home Scott McIntyre for a 3-2 CSUN lead. A walk to John Balfanz loaded the bases, and Mark Anderson singled home Rodnunsky and Vatcher, making it 5-2.
Things got worse for CSUN and Jeremy Hernandez (7-7) in the seventh when Trevor Penn hit the first pitch over the right-field fence for his 10th homer. Cal State LA added another run in the inning to make it 8-5.
CSUN finished the regular season at 36-20, 18-12 in the CCAA.