YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Hodgins Continues Hitting Surge as Northridge Easily Handles SDSU


SAN DIEGO — Cal State Northridge shortstop Andy Hodgins continued to distance himself from a season-opening slump with a two hits Friday night, including a two-run double, in the Matadors' 8-1 Western Athletic Conference victory over San Diego State.

In the past six games, Hodgins, a senior from Simi Valley High, has raised his batting average from .185 to .265.

"At the beginning of the season I was thinking I had to do a lot more being one of the only seniors coming back," said Hodgins, who had trouble handling his slow start.

"It was tough because everyone was doing well and you want to contribute," he said. "Guys were joking around with me about it, but thank God it came at a time when the team could handle it."

With timely hitting, only one error on defense and a four-hit complete game by right-hander Keven Kempton, the 13th-ranked Matadors won easily.

With the victory in the first of a three-game series, Northridge (16-3, 2-2 in the WAC) moved into third place behind CS Sacramento (5-1) and Hawaii (2-1) in the WAC Western Division standings.

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Aztecs (9-20, 0-4).

Kempton (4-1) earned his fifth complete game in as many starts.

"I feel great," he said. "No pain. No nothing."

After striking out all three batters in the third inning, he gained confidence.

"The good deal about Keven was that he ended even better than he began," CSUN Coach Bill Kernen said.

"We had a pitchers' meeting today before the game and we rehashed a few of the principles we're trying to live by. He had his best inning after we scored our five runs."

Indeed, Kempton threw only nine pitches in the sixth, striking out one batter and inducing a flyout to center and a popout to Andy Small at third base.

The Matadors were held to one run and one hit by San Diego State left-hander Rich Juarez until the sixth when they took a 6-0 lead on three hits, including a home run by Small, two errors, a walk and a double steal.

Small smacked an inside fastball for a two-run home run, his eighth of the season and third in as many games.

"I don't really think about it," Small said. "I can't try to hit one out. I just have to try to swing at a pitch I can hit."

Kempton lost his shutout bid in the seventh when SDSU scored one run, ending a streak of 27 consecutive innings in which the Aztecs had not scored while Juarez was pitching.

Los Angeles Times Articles