At the Start, CSUN Needs a Few Runs


Offense having some ups and downs? Trouble in the leadoff or cleanup positions? For the Northridge baseball team, the answer to each of the above is a resounding yes.

Seven runs is precisely how many the leadoff batter has scored. Joey Arnold (nine games) and Keyaan Cook (one) are a combined eight for 41 (.195).

Arnold has accounted for all of the six runs driven in by the leadoff spot. Northridge leadoff men have struck out 12 times.


The production the Matadors (4-6) have received out of the fourth spot in the lineup also is disappointing. Juniors Jason Shanahan and Kevin Howard and freshman Eric Gillespie have batted a combined .293, but have only three runs batted in while batting cleanup. And they all came when Howard hit a three-run homer to beat UCLA, 10-7. Overall, the Matadors’ No. 4 hitter is 12 for 41 and has scored seven runs.

Coach Bill Kernen continues to tinker with the batting order.

After Monday’s 10-5 loss to Fullerton, seven of nine regulars were moved to different spots in the order before Tuesday’s game with USC.

“I still don’t know a lot about this team,” Kernen said. “I need to find some answers before (Western Athletic Conference play) begins.”


Mounds of Mounties

The gang’s all here, practically.

Last week’s game with UC Santa Barbara was unofficially a Montclair Prep reunion.

Former Mountie standouts Steve Cain, a pitcher, and infielder Shad Knighton are on the Gaucho roster. Montclair Prep’s former pitching coach, Tim Montez, is coaching at Santa Barbara.

Northridge also has three former Mounties in uniform, including second baseman Cook and injured first baseman Andy Shaw. Shaw’s older brother, P.C., is a Northridge assistant and a Montclair Prep graduate.

Cain, who pitched two innings of scoreless relief, came within an out of earning the victory against the Matadors, but former El Camino Real standout Pat Treend gave up three runs in the ninth to blow a save opportunity while Northridge rallied to win, 13-12.



Through 10 games, Northridge (4-6) has yet to defeat a team with a winning record. Victories have come against Cal State San Bernardino, UC Santa Barbara and two over UCLA, all of which remain below the .500 mark.

On Friday, Northridge opens play in a tournament at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

The Matadors play Oklahoma State (ranked sixth by Collegiate Baseball), Florida (22nd) and a doubleheader against Ohio State (16th).

USC, which on Tuesday defeated Northridge, 10-5, was ranked 13th. Cal State Fullerton, which swept a pair of games from the Matadors last weekend, is ranked third.

Kernen believes the Matadors, who are unranked, may be suffering from an inferiority complex.

“These teams are better than we are right now,” Kernen said, referring to USC and Fullerton. “(Winning) is a mental expectation that comes with experience. Until it’s in your head that you belong on the same field. . . .


“We have a wall to knock down.”


Andre Chevalier, Northridge’s shortest player, finally found an opponent he physically could pick on.

Matched against Earl Thompson, Sacramento’s 5-9 freshman point guard, Chevalier posted up on Thompson and called for the ball early in the second half against the Hornets.

After gathering in a pass, Chevalier backed in, spun around Thompson, and scored with a layup.

“I try to tell them I’ve got skills at the post,” Chevalier said. “I rarely get someone smaller than me, but I finally did it. It took me four years, but I got one.”


Quotebook: Chevalier, after 10 Northridge players saw at least 14 minutes of action in a 36-point blowout win over Cal State Sacramento: “It was fun just to see other people play and sit on the bench and listen to them get yelled at.”


Call it trial and error or baptism by fire.

Whichever, Scia Maumausolo and the Matador softball team learned early the benefit of being a quick study.

Maumausolo was an All-American designated hitter as a freshman last season, but for at least this campaign Northridge needs her to play catcher.


In the Matadors’ season-opening doubleheader, Cal State Fullerton tested Maumausolo’s arm and found it not nearly as strong or quick as her bat.

The Titans stole three bases and earned a split.

Last weekend, in the San Diego State tournament, Cal State Long Beach and Washington also tried playing fast and loose on the bases. Tried and failed.

Maumausolo threw out three runners in two games, and turned in the key defensive play in a 1-0 extra-inning victory over the Huskies.

In the tournament’s tiebreaker format, a runner is placed at second base at the start of an inning.

Maumausolo picked off the Washington runner, snapping the ball down to center fielder Jen Fleming, who sneaked in from behind.

“That was a real break, to get that front runner out,” Coach Gary Torgeson said.

In the bottom of the inning, Northridge scored its runner and came away with the victory.

“The more she plays the better she’ll get,” Torgeson said of Maumausolo. “She has all the tools. She just needs game experience.”


And, apparently, not too much of it.



Perhaps they ought to move the pitchers’ mound closer to the plate. Or blindfold the batters. Anything to help those poor junior college baseball pitchers.

Consider what happened to some of them over the past few days.

Last Saturday, Antelope Valley and Oxnard took advantage of gusty winds in Lancaster to stage a 30-22 slugfest, won by the Marauders.

Can you just hear the public address announcer?:

“That’s 30 runs on 30 hits and three errors for Antelope Valley. For the Condors, 22 runs on 17 hits and seven errors. Both teams thank you for enduring.”

There were 15 home runs in the game, including two each from Antelope Valley’s Eric Cole and Oxnard’s Andy Wilson and Matt Anderson. Ryan Branch hit a grand slam for Antelope Valley.

“I haven’t seen anything like that, even in Little League,” said Joe Watts, the Marauders’ co-coach.

“That wind was howling by about the third inning. There were some routine fly balls that just kept carrying.”


The wind, however, had nothing to do with the Southern California Athletic Conference doubleheader the same day in Sylmar between Compton and Mission.

The Free Spirit swept Compton, 11-1 and 16-3, by displaying a lot of muscle. Mission hit four home runs in the second game, including one by outfielder Gary Matthews, who also had the only home run of the first game.

Then on Tuesday, Ventura dismantled the Tartars with a 19-hit attack for a 29-3 nonconference victory at Compton. Freshman third baseman Hernan Martinez had a school-record nine runs batted in. He picked up seven of the RBIs with a grand slam and a home run with two men on.

Do those white hankies being waved by the pitchers mean anything?


Bigger Is Better

After producing their worst field-goal shooting performance (27 of 75, 36%) of the season in an overtime basketball loss to Pomona-Pitzer last week, the Kingsmen rebounded with their best shooting half of the season (22 of 32, 68.8%).

Cal Lutheran raced to a 59-24 lead at intermission against Claremont-Mudd on Saturday night, then cruised to a 95-66 victory.

“We went very hard on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Dunlap said. “We met five times (between Wednesday’s loss and Saturday’s victory) and none of us were happy. We were all grumpy and we took it out on Claremont.”


Claremont-Mudd’s loss turned out to be Cal Lutheran’s gain as the angry Stags upset Pomona-Pitzer, 82-64, on Monday night to give the Kingsmen a share of first place in the SCIAC standings with one game left.

Cal Lutheran (22-2, 11-2 in the conference) can guarantee itself at least a share of its third consecutive SCIAC title with a victory over La Verne tonight. The Kingsmen would win the title outright if they defeat La Verne and Pomona-Pitzer loses to Redlands.

A SCIAC title playoff game would be played Saturday at a neutral site to determine the conference’s automatic entry into the NCAA Division III playoffs.

Cal Lutheran and La Verne tied for the SCIAC title last year, and La Verne beat the Kingsmen for the championship and knocked them out of the playoffs in the second round after Cal Lutheran was granted an at-large berth.


The Kingsmen baseball team trailed The Master’s, 8-0, after an inning and a half on Monday even though the Mustangs had only one hit, a looping single.

In Master’s first two at-bats, four Mustang batters were hit by pitches and eight received bases on balls.


Bill Wagner, a junior left-hander, was wild in his debut for the Kingsmen. “We threw him in there with the lions, and the lions ate him,” Coach Marty Slimak said.

Around the Campuses . . .

* Cal Lutheran’s Paul Tapp has made 25 consecutive free throws. He is 50 of 55 from the foul line this season.

* Damon Ridley has moved to 20th on Cal Lutheran’s career scoring list with 907 points. He has averaged 17.8 points a game during his two-year Kingsmen career.

Staff writers Fernando Dominguez, Steve Elling, Mike Hiserman and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.