NORTHRIDGE — His own administrators nearly kept him from accomplishing it, but Cal State Northridge baseball Coach Mike Batesole reached 100 victories in little more than two seasons and a month before his 34th birthday.
The NCAA doesn't keep such records, but there is no doubt Batesole reached the milestone more quickly and at a younger age than nearly any collegiate coach.
And the Matadors did it his way, hammering five home runs to put away Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 16-10, Tuesday at Northridge.
Reaching the century mark in this century seemed a longshot only last summer.
Northridge cut baseball along with three other men's sports in June, then buckled to public pressure and reinstated them in August. Administrators continue to privately express reservations about baseball, believing it siphons money from the football and basketball programs they are more interested in promoting.
That baseball is arguably the most successful sport at Northridge and has produced several All-Americans and top draft picks doesn't seem to matter. The latest slight is eliminating funds for hotel accommodations for recruits taking visits to Northridge.
Only five players stuck it out through the turmoil, and nobody is left from Batesole's team that finished 52-18 and advanced to the West Regional final in 1996.
"This is a special day for the players past and present," Batesole said. "It only shows that in the past two-plus years, at least 100 times these guys played their hearts out."
A 100% effort was evident against Cal Poly (3-6). The Matadors (6-6) pounded out 18 hits, including two home runs by Adrian Mendoza and one each by Kevin Patrick, Nakia Hill and Mike McNeely.
"I thought about it last night and deep down I wanted coach to get his 100th victory today," Mendoza said. "Coach Batesole taught me how to hit. He's the reason I'm hitting home runs. I went a little extra."
Mendoza opened the scoring with a three-run blast in the first, hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and keyed a seven-run sixth inning with a two-run shot.
Batesole used six pitchers, all of whom came to Northridge because they had no other options, but who have found a home playing for a winning coach. Right-hander Tim Bell, a sophomore rebounding from major elbow surgery, picked up his first victory.
"You don't need the best talent to win at this level," Batesole said. "You get the toughest guys with the best character and instincts, guys who lay it on the field."
From the dugout Batesole watched his players raking and watering the field as they do after every game because his budget doesn't include a groundskeeper.
"Today," he said, "it was worth it."
Northridge is batting .302, and five regulars are batting better than .300. . . . Tanner Trosper, a sophomore from Calabasas High, caught for Cal Poly and Darrin Reisman, also a Calabasas product, had one hit in two at-bats. Second baseman Matt Elam (Thousand Oaks High) has stolen six bases in six tries and infielder Mike Bland (Hart High) is batting .333.