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Ramirez Puts San Francisco in a Fog, 4-0

February 18, 1996|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHRIDGE — Talk about leaving no doubt.

Cal State Northridge left-hander Erasmo Ramirez took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, allowed no runs, no walks and gave San Francisco no chance Saturday at Matador Field to remain undefeated.

With a three-hit, 12-strikeout performance in the Matadors' 4-0 nonconference victory, Ramirez dominated a showdown between two of the nation's hottest teams.

The sophomore from Saddleback High retired the first 19 batters before misplaying a ground ball for an error with one out in the seventh. He got the next three batters, then allowed the Dons (7-1) consecutive singles to center field by Brad Marshall and Steve Berringer.

Ramirez bore down, getting a fly out to center and retiring Ted Turkington on a called third strike. A single to begin the ninth was followed by three outs in a row.

The victory was the sixth in a row for the Matadors (11-1), who are 7-0 at home.

A key has been the pitching of Ramirez and senior right-hander Robert Crabtree, who will start today against USF and Notre Dame High graduate Rich Igou. Ramirez is 3-0 with two saves and Crabtree is 4-0 with one save.

Their success is no mystery: They throw strikes. Ramirez has struck out 24 and walked two; Crabtree has struck out 32 and walked three.

"Their strike-ball ratio is actually better than what I want as a coach," said Dan Cowgill, Northridge's first-year pitching coach.

Ramirez and Crabtree learned a new pitch from Cowgill: the turnover two-seam fastball, which is thrown with a three-quarter delivery and moves like a screwball.

"I'm getting a lot more movement on that pitch," said Ramirez, who lowered his earned-run average to 1.50.

Combined with his four-seam fastball and curve, Ramirez had the Dons flailing. He was the first left-hander they faced this season.

"He was phenomenal," Dons' Coach Rich Hill said. "He's around the plate all the time."

Said Northridge catcher Robert Fick: "He had all three pitches working and that made it real fun."

Fick, batting .422, tripled in the first to drive in Adam Kennedy and scored on Jose Miranda's sacrifice fly to give Northridge a 2-0 lead.

With the bases loaded in the fourth, Ryan Hurd's fly to center was misplayed by Marshall, allowing Fick and Miranda to score.

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