Tradition has it that in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn., a standard shoe size will suffice for an earned-run average.
On Saturday afternoon, four games into the season, Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly Pomona provided evidence that the idea may be outdated by splitting a doubleheader completed just minutes before rain began to fall on John Scolinos Field in Pomona.
This was a day for pitching.
The Matadors (7-8, 2-2) won the opener, 9-1, behind the six-hit pitching of sophomore Jeremy Hernandez. Pomona (5-13, 2-3) took the nightcap, 4-1, on a three-hitter by Kirk Washington.
"It's name of the game," Pomona's veteran Coach John Scolinos said.
Northridge had it in the first game, with Hernandez striking out 12. He also walked six batters, including three in the eighth inning when Pomona broke up the shutout with an unearned run on CSUN third baseman Tim Rapp's error.
Offensively, the Matadors used four singles, a walk and two Pomona errors to score five runs in the second inning.
Chris Pinsak had four of Northridge's 12 hits, and three runs batted in, including a two-run single in the second inning. Mark Anderson's three hits and three RBIs also helped pace the Matadors.
But it was the pitching of Hernandez that dominated the game.
"Obviously, Jeremy did a great job," CSUN Coach Terry Craven said. "He kept them where we wanted them, and the offensive end picked up on that."
In the second game, the offense picked up on virtually none of Kirk Washington's off-speed deliveries. John Balfanz produced the lone Northridge run with a home run to left in the fourth inning, his fourth of the season.
Balfanz, who also singled in the second, was the only Northridge base-runner to get as far as third base against Washington. Scott Stewart, who doubled in the third, was the only other run to get as far as second base.
Washington struck out six and walked four, and his status as the Pomona ace is undeniable.
Washington has four victories this season. Pomona has five.
"I'd sign that guy," Scolinos said. "He's got that good curve ball, and he'll sneak the fast ball by you. He's a guy you take a chance with and sign for pro ball. I would."
Following the pitching clinics provided by Hernandez and Washington, Scolinos predicted more of the same during the CCAA season.
"There's no pigeons in this league," he said. "Each ball club seems to have a couple of good pitchers. It's going to be a dogfight."
Craven offered no argument to Scolinos' assessment.
"Every team in the league has basically the same kind of attack," he said. "You hope for a good pitching performance and your offense builds on that."
Of his team's effort in the second game after an easy win in the opener, Craven said:
"The problem in doubleheaders over the years has been if you do real well or real bad in the first game, it's tough to get going in the second game. You're kind of living on what happened in the first game, and that's what happened to us.
"We never got into it and Washington pitched effective enough to keep us at that point."