Sacramento Ends Northridge Winning Streak at 9
Coach Bill Kernen knew that his 12th-ranked Cal State Northridge baseball team would run out of lucky bounces and inning-ending double plays. Victory after victory after victory, Kernen urged his players to take better advantage of offensive opportunities and to show more discipline at the plate.
Those shortcomings ended Northridge’s winning streak at nine games Friday afternoon. In their Western Athletic Conference debut, the Matadors lost, 4-3, to host Cal State Sacramento.
The Hornets (11-3) rallied on three hits and an error by Northridge shortstop Andy Hodgins to score three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“We had been fortunate,” Kernen said. “Things went our way. Any time you have a one-run game, especially on the road, the ball’s going to bounce the other way. You have to do better than that offensively so those things don’t decide the game.”
Northridge (9-1) managed more than two hits in only one inning, the scoreless fourth.
“We’ve played poorly enough at times that I’ve told them they weren’t 9-0,” Kernen said. “So we’ve already had games that we’ve lost in terms of how we’ve played, like (the) Chapman (game). It has been a hollow win streak.”
Sacramento starter Mike Eby, a left-hander who graduated from Westlake High in 1990, held the Matadors scoreless through four innings.
In the fifth, Northridge center fielder Joey Arnold, Eby’s teammate at Pierce College last season, led off with a single to left, took third on Hodgins’ hit to right and scored on David Prosenko’s sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Arnold led off with his first home run as a Matador.
“I left him a curveball over the plate,” Eby said.
“I did what I was supposed to do with it,” Arnold said.
“He hasn’t faced me much,” Eby said. “He’s just a good hitter. He’s not at Northridge for nothing.”
Prosenko added to the lead in the seventh by drawing a one-out walk and scoring on Greg Shepard’s single. But the Hornets answered immediately.
Josh Kirtlan led off with a double to left, took third on Ray Brown’s infield single and scored on a hit by Tony Turnbull.
Both runners advanced on a grounder to Northridge pitcher Keven Kempton (2-1), and Brown scored on the error by Hodgins. Turnbull scored the game-winning run on Matt Martinez’s line drive to Arnold, who made a diving catch.
It was of no consolation to Arnold. “It doesn’t feel good at all whenever you lose,” he said. “I hope we take the feeling and get a little fired up tomorrow.”
Gaylon Johnson threw out Northridge’s Andy Small at the plate in the fourth. Small was trying to score on Jason Shanahan’s shallow fly ball. . . . Small went out of the baseline trying to break up a double play in the eighth, resulting in an obstruction ruling that erased Mike Sims. Sacramento’s Mike Kane struck out three of the next four batters. . . .
Eight Hornets have ties to the Valley and Ventura County, including today’s starter Roland De La Maza (3-0, 1.35 ERA), a former St. Genevieve and College of the Canyons standout. CSUN will counter with Marco Contreras (2-0, 0.00).