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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Matadors Right at Home at UCLA Again, 4-3

Baseball: Vasquez and DeBiase shut down the Bruins and Northridge improves Batesole's record to 3-0 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

March 21, 1998|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Once again, the lights at Jackie Robinson Stadium shone on a superior Cal State Northridge performance.

Errorless defense behind the pitching of Jose Vasquez and Jim DeBiase gave the Matadors a 4-3 victory over UCLA on Friday night for Northridge Coach Mike Batesole's third victory without a loss on the Bruins' field.

Batesole's first Division I coaching victory two years ago was a 3-1 decision at UCLA, and the Matadors finished last season by beating the Bruins, 12-6, at UCLA.

"It feels pretty good because UCLA is an outstanding program year after year," Batesole said.

However, the Bruins (11-17) are struggling after advancing to the College World Series last year for the first time in Coach Gary Adams' 24 seasons.

The frustration is apparent--Adams, assistant Vince Beringhele and first baseman Cassidy Olson were ejected.

Northridge (17-17) continues to rack up improbable victories during a season in which many believed the team would be fortunate to win 10 games.

The Matadors beat 10th-ranked Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday.

Four runs in the fourth on a two-run single by Jeremy Sickles and run-scoring singles by Mike McNeely and Marco Estrada stood up because Vasquez (4-4) and DeBiase scattered eight hits.

Bill Scott homered in the fifth against Vasquez and Eric Valent homered in the eighth against DeBiase, who earned his first save.

"We got reliable pitching again," Batesole said. "Jose didn't have anything, he was pitching on guts. DeBiase's breaking ball was really working."

Brad Foss, who has four saves, is out with a sore elbow, and Batesole had no one warming up after Scott and Jack Santora walked with two out in the ninth. DeBiase got Eric Byrnes on a comebacker.

"I was pitching too quickly," DeBiase said. "I sat back and took a moment, then went back to hitting my spots.

"We knew in the back of our minds that [Batesole] had never lost here, and we wanted to come out and play good baseball."

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