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Northridge Gets a Cold Slap in Face

Baseball: Dane Sardinha's home run caps five-run seventh that gives Pepperdine a 6-3 victory.


NORTHRIDGE — Dane Sardinha's idea of baseball weather is something closer to the climate of his native Hawaii than the 41-degree chill Tuesday at Cal State Northridge.

But Sardinha's bat is hot in any weather.

Sardinha, projected as an early draft choice in June, hit a two-run home run off reliever Merrill Dunn to cap a five-run seventh inning and Pepperdine rallied to defeat Northridge, 6-3, in a nonconference game at Matador Field.

Sardinha, a junior catcher, sent Dunn's first pitch over the left-field wall for his fourth home run and second in as many games.

"Being a catcher, it's a little easier to stay warm on a day like this, I guess," Sardinha said. "But that's just the way it is this time of year. We were at Gonzaga [over the weekend] and it was 43 degrees or something."

Pepperdine (9-9) collected eight hits off six Northridge pitchers, four off Andy Davidson (2-1), who relieved starter Kameron Loe in the fifth inning.

Loe allowed two hits and struck out four in 4 2/3 innings.

Coach Mike Batesole of Northridge (7-10) said before the season his young team, particularly its pitching staff, would be tested early and likely take some lumps. That was the case against Pepperdine, which completed a two-game sweep of Northridge this season.

Loe, Davidson, Dunn, Ivan Hernandez, Bill Murphy and Mike Frick took the mound for the Matadors. Batesole said he intended to use several pitchers.

"We have good, young arms," Batesole said. "And we're going to keep giving them chances. The only way to make them better is to play them and to play them against the right people.

"We expect to get slugged in the mouth a few times. Give them a chance and things will turn. Hopefully, they'll turn before 2001."

Loe, a freshman right-hander from Granada Hills High, left after throwing 65 pitches.

"He's been throwing the ball well since day one," Batesole said of Loe.

Pepperdine took a 1-0 lead in the first when Woody Cliffords singled and later scored on a wild pitch.

Loe said the weather prevented him from keeping loose.

"I felt a little tight in the lower back, but I felt like I had good stuff," Loe said. "I think [our staff] is doing what needs to get done. For the experience we have, right now I think we're doing a good job."

Northridge took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Murphy's two-run single.

The lead grew to 3-1 on Tim Arroyo's run-scoring single off Steve Schenewerk (2-0) in the fifth.

Duke Sardinha's leadoff double triggered Pepperdine's seventh-inning rally. Damon Katz had a run-scoring single, and Austin Evans and Danny Garcia drove in runs on ground outs.

Pepperdine employed five pitchers. Starter Jason Provisor pitched three hitless innings before being replaced by Eric Valenzuela.

Noah Lowry pitched the ninth to notch his second save.

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