Northridge Put on Ice by Refnes, Mustangs


Cal State Northridge’s sizzling bats had to cool off sooner or later, but it would have been hard to find a more unlikely candidate to ice the Matadors than Todd Refnes of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Refnes, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander from Sacramento City College, entered Friday night’s California Collegiate Athletic Assn. game at San Luis Obispo Stadium with a 3-2 record and a 5.61 earned-run average, 7.03 in CCAA play.

Yet he threw a five-hitter and struck out eight to beat Northridge, 7-2, and snap the Matadors’ nine-game CCAA winning streak. Northridge (31-17, 18-7 in conference play) dropped into a tie for first place with Riverside, which was leading Cal State Los Angeles, 11-8, in the ninth inning Friday when the game was halted by a power failure.


“The playoffs look pretty dismal for us right now,” Refnes said. “So this series is kind of like our World Series. We want to play the spoiler role.”

Starter and loser Craig Clayton (11-4) limited San Luis Obispo (20-27, 11-14) to one run in the first three innings, but the Mustangs jumped on the Matador sophomore for six runs--five earned--in the fourth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 lead.

Matt Drake led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Bill Daly’s single. After Gerald Rucker forced Daly at second, Clayton struck out Doug O’Neill, but the next four batters reached base.

Phil James singled home Drake to tie the score at 2-2. After the runners each moved up a base on a wild pitch, Clayton walked Sean Harper to load the bases and walked Pat Kirby to give San Luis Obispo a 3-2 lead.

Catcher Doug Noce, who entered the game batting .446, followed with a shot to left field that sailed over a drawn-in Eric Johnson for a three-run triple. Noce also scored on the play when Johnson’s relay throw got away from cutoff-man Mike Solar.

Clayton, who entered the game with victories in his past six decisions, allowed seven runs--six earned--on six hits and seven walks in five innings.


Northridge scored twice in the fourth when Greg Shockey doubled to start the inning, and after Scott Sharts walked, scored when shortstop Gerald Rucker booted Denny Vigo’s high chopper.

Sharts moved to third on Johnson’s flyout and scored on Scott Richardson’s single.