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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Northridge Gets a Shot in the Arm

Baseball: Frick gives Matadors a solid start and bullpen finishes off 6-4 victory over Portland.

March 15, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHRIDGE — This was the kind of pitching performance, more or less, Coach Mike Batesole has been looking for from his Cal State Northridge staff.

A bounce-back kind of outing, with Mike Frick playing man on the rebound.

Batesole got that and more, including a few too many bouncing balls, and Northridge ended a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over Portland on Tuesday at Matador Field.

Frick (2-2), shelled while Northridge was swept in a three-game series last weekend at Nevada, pitched six scoreless innings and the Matadors' bullpen, despite wildness by Merrill Dunn, made the lead stand up.

Adrian Mendoza, the Matadors' big man with the bat this season, came up big again with a towering two-run, opposite-field home run to left field in the seventh inning that gave Northridge (8-13) a 6-3 lead.

Frick, feeling mighty low a few days ago, arose. He was solid from the start, striking out four, walking none and allowing two singles through six innings.

Frick pitched three scoreless innings Friday against Nevada but was chased during a 12-run fourth by the Wolfpack.

"I had a rough weekend," Frick said. "I got banged around pretty good. But I put it past me. To come out here and throw up six zeros. . . .

"I had to prove to the guys that I was still good."

The Pilots (9-7) chased Frick in the seventh with three consecutive singles, cutting the Matadors' lead to 4-3 on Matt Allen's two-run double.

"We were happy to get four or five innings out of Frick," Batesole said. "It was good that we could stretch him out a little bit."

Dunn replaced Frick with one out and the tying run at second and ended the threat by retiring two consecutive batters.

Dunn became wild in the eighth, throwing four wild pitches and hitting a batter as the Pilots pushed across a run to close to within 6-4.

Steve Busby replaced Dunn and got the final out in the eighth. In the ninth, Busby allowed a two-out double but left the runner stranded to notch his first save.

Right-hander Zach Yarbrough (0-1) of Portland was effective early, striking out the side in order in the second inning and allowing single runs in the third and fifth innings.

Yarbrough exited after allowing a leadoff single to Bill Murphy and a double by Heith Gadient that placed runners at second and third.

Brendan Wood replaced Yarbrough and allowed a run-scoring single by Eric Horvat and a sacrifice fly by Jason Gorman.

In the seventh, Tim Coltey led off with a double off Wood.

Mendoza followed by hitting Wood's first pitch for his fifth home run, most among the Matadors.

"We lost [at Nevada]," Mendoza said. "But we played to their level. The freshmen got to see the best of the best."

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