Kenny Kendrena, Cal State Northridge's man of perpetual motion, was at it again Friday in the opener of a three-game series against Nevada.
He bobbed. He weaved. He laboriously grunted after nearly every pitch.
But the senior right-hander proved once again that you must knock him out early or not at all.
Kendrena struck out 13 and allowed only two hits over the final six innings in pitching Northridge to its 20th victory of the season, 6-4, at Matador Field.
It was a typical performance for Kendrena, who has fallen into the habit of struggling early in games.
Reno (22-8-1) scored all of its runs in the first three innings, including three in the second after two costly errors.
"That's a regular kind of an inning if we play catch," Northridge Coach Bill Kernen said. "If you give a good team five outs, they're going to score."
Kendrena (6-4), however, chose to accept most of the blame. "It's not all the defense's fault," he said. "I made some bad pitches too."
The Wolfpack's only earned run came in the third when Jeff Manship singled, moved to second on an infield out and scored on David Norman's single.
After Norman's hit, Kendrena retired 16 of the next 17 batters before Petie Roach singled with two out in the eighth.
"My stuff got better as it went," said Kendrena, who walked two. "The (split-finger fastball) came on in the middle innings and just kept getting better."
Northridge (20-7-1) scored five runs in the first--all of them through the generosity of Nevada, which committed three errors in the inning.
In addition, a bases-loaded wild pitch cleared the bases.
Scott Richardson drew a leadoff walk against Geoff Grenert. Hodgins reached base on an error and Greg Shockey followed with an opposite-field double to left to drive in Richardson.
Greg Shepard walked to load the bases and, one out later, Scott Mowl reached base on an error with Hodgins scoring. That set the stage for one of the wildest plays of the season.
Grenert's second pitch to Kyle Washington bounced past catcher Erik Moreno, finally coming to rest near the screen behind home plate. Shockey scored easily and Shepard followed while Moreno was having trouble picking up the ball.
Then, as a disgusted Moreno walked the ball back toward the infield, Mowl saw an opening and managed to scramble to the plate, beating Moreno's throw to Grenert.
Moreno, Mowl said, "kind of looked over at the coach like he was explaining what happened. They left it open for me."
It was the second time this season Northridge has scored three runs on such a play. Against Utah, Northridge cleared the bases on a passed ball after a strikeout.