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CSUN Knocks Out 10 Consecutive Hits to Key 13-5 Victory : College baseball: Shepard triggers Matadors' 10-run seventh with homer in rout of Fresno State.

May 16, 1993|THERESA MUNOZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Although the score was tied in the seventh inning Saturday, the pressure of the situation eluded Greg Shepard when he stepped to the plate and ripped a knuckleball over the center-field fence for a two-run home run that opened the floodgates at Matador Field.

Shepard, who went three for five with four runs batted in, said he hoped to hit a home run so he could duplicate his double-and-homer effort of the previous day.

". . . It was only a matter of time before we got to that guy (Fresno State starter Jared Fernandez)," Shepard said simply. "His stuff wasn't great."

Shepard's Cal State Northridge teammates followed with nine straight hits in a 10-run inning that buried 11th-ranked Fresno State.

The 23rd-ranked Matadors' 13-5 victory enhances their prospects of gaining an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.

A win in today's Western Athletic Conference finale would assure Northridge of a runner-up finish in the WAC West.

A sweep would give the Matadors (33-17, 13-10 in WAC play) one more win than the Bulldogs (36-19, 13-8), but conference officials have ruled that Fresno State is the WAC West champion even though it did not play two games that were rained out.

After Shepard's blast, Chris Olsen followed with a single, which was followed by a visit to the mound by Fresno State Coach Bob Bennett.

But the onslaught continued.

Andy Small drilled the next pitch, which left Matador Field faster than any homer this season and traveled farther, an estimated 425 feet. It was Small's second of the game, a team-high 18th of the season.

"That's probably the first one I've ever watched," Small said. "It was pretty exciting. It seemed like the whole inning we had a nice tempo."

Mike Sims maintained that tempo with a solo homer that extended his hitting streak to 18 games and tied a school record for home runs in an inning.

Andy Hodgins and Keyaan Cook followed with singles and Joey Arnold lashed a full-count, two-run liner to right that prompted Bennett to replace Fernandez with Tommy Minor.

Jason Shanahan greeted Minor with a double to right, and David Prosenko and Shepard hit run-scoring singles. The 10 consecutive hits in the inning broke a school record of eight set in 1984.

"That's a once-in-a-million-years thing," Northridge Coach Bill Kernen said.

Marco Contreras (6-4) rebounded from a sub-par performance last weekend to keep the Bulldogs in check.

"Before I went to sleep last night I was thinking that we gotta win today," Contreras said. "There was no fooling around. You gotta get it done when you gotta get it done."

Matador Notes

Northridge has hit seven home runs in the last two games, 60 overall. . . . It was the fourth consecutive game in which the Matadors scored in double figures. . . . The last three batters in the order, Joey Arnold, Jason Shanahan and David Prosenko, have struggled most of the season, but in the last 10 days they have each exceeded the .255 mark. On Saturday, they went seven for 13 with four RBIs. Prosenko (.275) extended his hitting streak to six games and Arnold (.268) has hits in five consecutive games. . . . Fresno State hitting leader Mike Roe was scratched for the second consecutive day because of a possible concussion suffered in warm-ups Friday when he was hit in the face by the ball. . . . Bulldog right-hander Steve Soderstrom missed his second straight start Saturday because of tendinitis in his right elbow.

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