HONOLULU — The Cal State Northridge baseball team will return today from the 10th annual Rainbow-Easter Baseball Tournament at the University of Hawaii with mixed emotions.
A week spent together free from the rigors of the classroom and California Collegiate Athletic Assn. competition deepened friendships among teammates as much as it deepened suntans. Coach Terry Craven believes the experience will help the Matadors should they advance to the regionals or NCAA Division II World Series later this year.
But CSUN also lost five of eight games here, including a 5-4 decision Friday to Lewis-Clark State College.
The newly gained unity aside, did CSUN's confidence take a beating?
"Not at all," CSUN Coach Terry Craven said. "We played outstanding teams and held our own.
"The players really learned a lot about one another," he said. "There were a couple of incidents where guys got on each other's nerves, and they dealt with those situations like adults.
"There was an extended 'players only' meeting held (Friday), and the guys really got together. All 30 players got involved. We are returning home in high spirits."
Lewis-Clark, no doubt, will also return to the mainland on a positive note.
The Warriors rebounded from a 4-0 deficit with three runs in the fourth inning and two more in the seventh.
Two walks, three singles and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth off of CSUN starter Tom Harmon reduced the Matadors' advantage to one run.
Lewis-Clark went ahead in the seventh inning on a two-run home run by Jaime Archibald. The home run, a towering fly ball to left field against a stiff wind, followed a single by first baseman Kyle Brock, brother of Los Angeles Dodger Greg Brock.
CSUN (24-12-1) took a second-inning lead on four consecutive hits. After Paul Kaplan and Randy Gilmore each singled, junior designated hitter Matt MacArthur cleared the bases with a triple. Tom McKay promptly singled home MacArthur.
The Matadors scored their final run in the fourth inning on successive singles by Gilmore, Jerry Bernard and Tim Rapp.
Mark Allen got the win for Lewis-Clark, pitching 7 innings. Larry Schofield finished the game and earned a save.
An eighth-inning CSUN uprising fell short. Bryant Long and Kaplan walked to the open the inning. After Bryant stole third with one out, he was thrown out at the plate by Warrior center fielder Keith Peterson after tagging up on a fly ball by Bernard.
CSUN outhit Lewis-Clark, 10-7, but left 9 on base.
Harmon (4-2) went the distance, allowing seven hits and seven walks. He struck out one.
"We received outstanding performances this week from all of our pitchers," Craven said. I know our pitching staff can't wait to get back to our conference competition."
Wichita State was tournament champion with a 7-1 record. The final game, featuring Hawaii and Lewis-Clark, was in progress Friday night. Both teams entered the contest with 3-4 records. Brigham Young University was 3-5.