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COLLEGE NOTEBOOK

Kernen Will Keep Off-Kilter Contreras in CSUN Rotation

April 24, 1993

Struggling Cal State Northridge pitcher Marco Contreras has been given a reprieve. Contreras will start tonight against Fresno State in the second game of a Western Athletic Conference series at Fresno's Beiden Field.

After Contreras was rocked in his past two outings--he lasted only one inning against Chapman and 1 1/3 against Pepperdine--Coach Bill Kernen said Contreras' place in the starting rotation was in jeopardy. But Kernen will give Contreras (4-3, 3.75 earned-run average) another chance.

"He's got the most experience and if we don't get him turned around we're in trouble," Kernen said.

Kernen was shocked Friday morning when he saw that several of the players piling into the van for the drive to Fresno had shaved their heads.

"Half of them look like Telly Savalas," he said.

Kernen has a theory about the haircuts.

"Probably the ones who didn't shave have girlfriends," he said. "Now I know which ones have girlfriends."

One thing is for sure, he is not pulling out the razor.

"The coaches aren't gonna do it," he said. "At least this one."

Senior right fielder Greg Shepard was the instigator.

Kernen went one for three Thursday in the recruiting game. He was a hit with San Diego Mesa College catcher Brett Callan, who chose Northridge over Oklahoma State, California and St. Mary's, but he missed on San Diego Mesa shortstop Beau Champoux and Simi Valley High pitcher Trevor Leppard.

Champoux, a 1992 draft pick of the New York Mets who is batting .347 with 18 runs batted in, selected Oklahoma State over Northridge because he wanted to live somewhere other than Southern California for the first time. His decision was so difficult he called Kernen three times last week.

"It was a tough decision because Northridge is an up-and-coming program, and I have a lot of respect for Coach Kernen," Champoux said.

Kernen was disappointed to lose such a high-caliber recruit at shortstop.

"That's something we have to find," he said. "I have to go back into the pool and redo it."

Starting shortstop Andy Hodgins is a senior. His backup, sophomore Erik Lazerus, has been limited to six at-bats this season because of a chronic back injury. The injury has prevented Kernen from determining if he has the skills to be a starting shortstop.

Leppard, a right-hander who is 5-1 with an ERA of 1.24, was interested in Northridge early in the recruiting process but wound up choosing the University of San Diego.

Kernen signed College of the Canyons first baseman Andy Shaw and Pierce outfielder-catcher Josh Smaler on April 14, the first day of the spring signing period.

Left fielder David Prosenko did not start Friday against Fresno State because his broken left pinky still hampers his ability to swing a bat.

TRACK & FIELD

Akiem Brown sliced more than six-tenths of a second off his personal best in the 400 meters last week when he timed 48.27 seconds in the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

The mark was a Northridge season best and moved the former San Diego Serra High standout to third on the all-time Matador freshman list behind Baxter Slaton (47.14 in 1978) and Keith Copeland (47.65 in 83).

Sophomore Teresa Stricklin threw a season best of 159 feet 8 inches to place sixth in the university-open discus at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays last Saturday.

The mark exceeded the provisional qualifying standard (159-1) for the NCAA championships in June. Provisional qualifiers will be invited to the NCAA meet if the number of automatic qualifiers is below the desired number. . . . Freshman Maronke Sims moved into a tie for eighth on the all-time Northridge list in the women's 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.54 seconds in her heat at Pomona-Pitzer.

GOLF

Northridge, ranked 42nd in the nation and 11th among the 27 teams in NCAA District 8, wraps up its regular season in the BYU Cougar Classic, which started Friday and concludes today, at the Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.

In tournament play this season, the Matadors finished first among 14 teams in the Cal State Sacramento invitational, seventh in the 16-team Oregon Duck invitational, 19th among 23 in the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate, and 11th among 18 in the Southwestern invitational.

Jeff Sanday has six top-10 finishes and a team-best 73.5 stroke-per-round average. Corby Segal is averaging 74.1 strokes.

THE MASTER'S

BASEBALL

In the second game of last Saturday's doubleheader against Biola, Dan O'Sullivan slugged his 12th home run of the season and the 30th of his collegiate career. O'Sullivan's season total ties the school record set by Andy Martin, who had 12-homer seasons in 1991 and '92. Martin had 29 in his career.

O'Sullivan leads NAIA District 3 players in home runs, doubles (12) and RBIs (37), is second in hits (47), third in batting average (.398) and seventh in runs (33).

Staff writers Mike Hiserman, Theresa Munoz and John Ortega contributed to this notebook.

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