For the first time all season, Cal State Northridge played a ballgame while wearing its red uniform tops, usually reserved for batting practice.
In light of the circumstances, green might have been more appropriate.
Northridge used a trio of freshman pitchers Wednesday night in a nonconference game at UC Riverside and the Matadors' quest to give the group some experience carried a price.
Riverside, ranked No. 11 in the NCAA Division II poll, came away with a 7-3 victory at Riverside Sports Center.
Northridge Coach Bill Kernen, faced with a series of makeup doubleheaders in April, hoped to give the freshman corps some quality time. Results were mixed.
Starter Carlos Velazco (1-2) allowed three earned runs in three innings and reliever Benny Flores allowed four runs in as many frames.
The way the offense played--Northridge didn't manage an earned run--it didn't really matter who pitched.
Another Northridge freshman, Adam Kennedy, continued to make noise. Kennedy, who played at nearby J.W. North High and had a contingent of friends and family in the stands, made his first start at shortstop and played errorless ball. At the plate, he kept up a recent hot streak.
Kennedy had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 11 games, which ties for the longest run on the team this season. Kennedy, who usually starts in the outfield, has recorded multiple hits in seven of nine games.
Northridge (16-13) was largely held in check by left-hander John Nall, a junior from Glendale College. Nall, who entered the game with an earned-run average of 12.27, allowed just two unearned runs in five innings.
Nonetheless, Northridge had a shot to steal the game in a fateful seventh inning,
The Matadors trailed, 4-3, with two out and runners at first and second. Jonathan Campbell lined a sharp single into left and Robert Fick attempted to score from second, but was cut down by left fielder Jim Doyle.
"It's the tying run, there are two outs and the two guys hitting behind Campbell are struggling," said third base coach Mike Batesole. "It's a gamble. You roll the dice."
The Matadors stranded 13 baserunners--at least one in every inning. Northridge has marooned 11 or more baserunners in six of seven games.
Riverside (19-10), which lost two games to Northridge to open the season, broke the game open by scoring three times in the bottom of the inning off left-hander Benny Flores.
After an infield single by Doyle and a blooper to right by Darren Doskocil, Tim Moran lined a run-scoring single to left.
Campbell threw to third, trying to get Doskocil, but the throw skipped into the Northridge dugout for an error that scored Doskocil. Shawn Kicherer singled in Moran.