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For Northridge, It's Not Like Old Times

Baseball: Matadors chagrined after splitting with Division II San Bernardino.

April 06, 1997|LAUREN PETERSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

NORTHRIDGE — Cal State Northridge isn't a Division II baseball team anymore.

The Matadors were painfully reminded of that when they lost to one Saturday in splitting a doubleheader with Cal State San Bernardino at Matador Field.

Northridge lost the first game, 4-3, and rebounded to win the second, 3-1.

But the split provided little solace for the Matadors, who moved up to Division I in 1991 and hadn't lost to a lower-level team since a 7-3 defeat at UC Riverside in 1995.

"It's tough to lose, especially when you're playing a team that's at a lower level," Northridge Coach Mike Batesole said. "It's expected that you'll beat these kind of teams.

"We have a lot of advantages over them. A lot of Division I teams have a lot of advantages over us, and I think they come in expecting to beat us. And I think we're expected to beat these [Division II] teams."

The defeat ended a four-game winning streak that included victories over Hawaii and Long Beach State.

Northridge had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first game before San Bernardino tied the score with a run in the fifth and went ahead, 4-2, on a two-run home run by Shawn Romprey in the sixth of the seven-inning game.

The Matadors rallied for a run with two out in the seventh, when Andy Wilson scored on a double to left by Adam Kennedy. But Kennedy was stranded when Mark Berrelleza relieved Pete Cuellar (5-3) and struck out Dan Pierce to end the game and earn his fourth save.

Northridge senior left-hander Nathan Rice (3-4) went the distance, giving up four earned runs and five hits.

The Matadors (27-15-1) got a masterful performance from little-used junior left-hander Carey Novits in the second game.

Novits (3-0) worked seven innings, his longest stint of the season, before he tired and was replaced by Bryant Fick to start the eighth. Novits limited the Coyotes (18-16-1) to four hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter. Fick earned his first save.

Novits allowed San Bernardino's only run on Romprey's second home run of the day, with one out in the seventh inning.

"It was just a matter of trying to make the most of the opportunity," Novits said. "Every chance you get, you've got to do the best you can."

Northridge scored a run in the first and two more on three hits and an error in the fifth.

On the day, Pierce was four for seven with a sacrifice fly and Kennedy was three for six.

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