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Fast Food Left CSUN Pitcher Half-Baked, 6-1

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bill Kernen took a gander at the string of pearls on the scoreboard Friday and didn’t need a slide rule or calculator.

With respect to the final score, once ain’t nearly enough, the Cal State Northridge coach said.

“You don’t win any college baseball games with one run and five hits,” he said.

Northridge wasted another strong effort by junior right-hander Rob Crabtree and fell to Cal State Sacramento, 6-1, in a Western Athletic Conference game.

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It was Northridge’s conference opener, but if the rest of the season continues in similar fashion, this show could close quickly. The curtain came down on Crabtree in the eighth, when the Hornets (11-11, 1-3) scored four runs to blow the game open.

Crabtree (2-4) followed his typical pregame superstition by eating at a Mexican fast-food outlet. His results were refried, too.

Crabtree, who defeated nationally ranked USC in his first appearance, lost for the fourth consecutive time.

“How can a guy be pitching as good as he has and be 2-4?” Kernen asked.

In the four defeats, the Matadors (13-9) have scored a not-so-grand total of 10 runs.

“The guy’s pitching his (butt) off and we’re not doing anything behind him,” second baseman Steve Moreno said.

Northridge fell behind when Sacramento scored a run in the first, and didn’t catch up.

Moreno typified the offense’s frustration. With a man aboard in the third, he lined into a double play to end the inning. In the seventh, he lined out to second with runners at first and second.

“We’re still waiting for a clutch hit,” Moreno said.

Sacramento held a 2-1 lead on six hits in the eighth when the Matadors’ play became as sloppy as the rain-soaked field.

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Northridge made two errors in the inning and Crabtree compounded things when he failed to nail the lead runner at third on a sacrifice-bunt attempt. Before the smoke cleared, Sacramento had a 6-1 lead.

In eight innings, Crabtree allowed 10 hits, struck out four and walked two. He allowed only three hits between the second and sixth innings.

“It makes you a better pitcher, the close ones do,” he said. “I love close games, the ones that can go either way.”

The Matadors blew their best chance in the seventh. Freshman Adam Kennedy doubled to open the inning. With runners at first and third and one out, Chad Thornhill pushed a bunt toward first, but right-hander Chris Caine (2-1) threw out Kennedy at the plate. Moreno then lined out.

Caine allowed one unearned run on four hits in seven innings.

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