No. 10 UCLA Just No. 3 for CSUN
The temptation for Mike Batesole was to jump up and click his heels in sheer delight.
His Cal State Northridge baseball team had just remained unbeaten by defeating No. 10-ranked UCLA, 3-1, Tuesday behind the pitching of Robert Crabtree and Erasmo Ramirez. But the 31-year-old, first-year Matador coach kept a straight face and said, “It was just one of 59 [games].”
One, yes. A big one, yes again.
Sauntering into Jackie Robinson Stadium and spoiling the Bruins’ opener made believers out of many who took the Matadors’ two-game sweep of Division II Cal State Los Angeles last weekend with a grain of brick dust.
The idea that left-handed hitters Robert Fick, Adam Kennedy and Eric Gillespie are the only dangerous bats in the Northridge lineup also took a tumble.
After Fick was walked intentionally to load the bases in the eighth inning, senior first baseman Grant Hohman singled to score two runs and snap a 1-1 tie.
Ramirez, a sophomore left-hander, replaced Crabtree (2-0) in the bottom of the inning and earned his first save.
Crabtree, who last season shut out UCLA for eight innings before losing in the ninth, allowed one unearned run in seven innings. He matched Jim Parque pitch for pitch until the Bruin left-hander from Crescenta Valley High exited after six innings, having allowed a run in the third on Fick’s double off the left-field wall.
Hohman’s hit, a line drive to right-center field, came off right-handed reliever Rick Heineman. Left-handed hitting Jose Miranda bats cleanup against right-handed pitchers, but Batesole replaced him with Hohman, a right-handed batter, to counter Parque.
“It was a fastball away and I went with it,” Hohman said afterward before looking at Crabtree and adding, “but our pitching was the whole reason we won.”
Crabtree and Ramirez, the winning pitchers against CSLA, have not allowed an earned run in 19 innings.
Ramirez was scheduled to start today against the Bruins, but after Northridge took the lead, Batesole gave him the ball.
“When we have a chance to get [a victory], we’ve got to get it,” Batesole said.
After Kurt Airoso scored the first Northridge run on Fick’s double in the third, UCLA tied the score in the bottom of the inning on a single, a walk, an error and Eric Byrnes’ run-scoring grounder.
Left-hander Benito Flores will face Bruin left-hander Tom Jacquez today at 2 p.m. at Matador Field.