NCAA DIVISION II BASEBALL WEST REGIONAL : CS Northridge Wins Berth in World Series
What UC Riverside failed to do in nine innings, the Cal State Northridge baseball team accomplished in all of about 10 seconds Sunday at Matador Field.
It brought down Scott Sharts.
Mugged him, actually. The Matadors jumped on him, weighed him down and rolled him in the dirt in back of the pitching mound.
But it was all for the cause of a good celebration. Sharts, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, shut out Riverside, 2-0, on eight hits in the championship game of the NCAA Division II West Regional, sending the Matadors into the eight-team Division II World Series beginning Saturday in Montgomery, Ala.
“That was a commanding performance,” said Bill Kernen, CSUN’s second-year coach. “When a pitcher is on like that there is nothing (you) can do as a hitter to deal with that.”
Riverside (39-18) threatened to score in both the second and ninth innings, but Sharts slammed the door each time to record the second shutout by a Northridge pitcher this season.
“I live for this,” said Sharts, who has five wins in seven decisions. “When it’s all on the line, I’m the one who wants to do it.”
Sharts also delivered at the plate, clouting a solo home run in the fourth inning, his 26th of the season and his second against the Highlanders in two days.
Northridge (36-21) managed only four other hits against right-hander Bill Jordan. The Matadors’ other run came in the fifth when Kyle Washington led off with a double and scored one out later on a single by Craig Clayton.
“You get into a championship environment and pitching is almost always the story,” Kernen said.
Riverside appeared on its way to scoring first Sunday, loading the bases in the second inning on singles by Ruben Ayala and Logan Ostrander and a walk to Scott Hayward. Sharts responded by striking out Ty Murphy and Troy Percival, then retired Mark Saugstad on a fly ball to center.
The Highlanders didn’t manage back-to-back hits again until there were two outs in the ninth inning.