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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Irish Eyes are Crying for Northridge in Loss

College baseball: Murphy surrenders two home runs in ninth inning, Matadors lose to Washington State.

March 18, 2000|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHRIDGE — Luck of the Irish deserted Bill Murphy and the Cal State Northridge baseball team when they needed it most.

Murphy, a freshman left-hander for Northridge, experienced a St. Patrick's Day to forget, allowing two two-run home runs in the ninth inning, and Washington State rallied to defeat Northridge, 6-2, in a nonconference game Friday at Matador Field.

Murphy replaced junior left-hander Ryan McDermott (1-3) with one out and a runner at third in the ninth and the score tied, 2-2. Murphy struck out Evan Hecker on a called third strike, but his first pitch to Shawn Stevenson was hit over the left-center field wall.

Evan Hacker followed with a single and Stefan Bailie, launched a towering home run to left field. It was Bailie's second home run of the game and fifth of the season.

"They weren't bad pitches," Murphy said. "They were right at the zero spot--below the knees. But [Stevenson] got all of it. A good piece of hitting."

McDermott, who replaced starter Kameron Loe in the third inning, was the hard-luck loser, despite a nice job of relief pitching. McDermott scattered seven hits over six innings. He struck out one and walked two.

Loe, a freshman right-hander from Granada Hills High, experienced control problems. The Cougars tagged Loe for a first-inning run on Steve Curran's sacrifice fly.

"We were hoping to get six or seven innings out of Loe, but he couldn't find the plate," Coach Mike Batesole of Northridge said. "[McDermott] pitched well enough to get a 'W.'

Northridge (9-14) snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth on Aaron McKenzie's solo home run off starter Todd Meldahl. The Matadors rallied to tie in the fifth on a run-scoring single by J.T. Stotts that drove in Jason Watkins.

Washington State (9-13) tied the score in the eighth on a solo home run by Bailie off McDermott, but the Matadors cut the rally short with an inning-ending relay throw that retired Ray Hattenburg at the plate.

Hattenburg tried to score from first on an extra-base hit by Jordan Nilsen. Center fielder Jason Watkins threw to first baseman Tim Arroyo, who relayed to catcher Jason Allec.

McDermott said he expected to be replaced sooner.

"As long as I'm getting the job done, I expect to stay in," McDermott said.

"But Murphy throws a littler harder than I do. I just try to do the job as long as I can."

Lanakila Niles (1-2), a sophomore right-hander from Pearl City, Hawaii, pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings in relief of Meldahl.

Northridge had all six of its hits off Meldahl, a senior left-hander who struck out six and walked four.

The Matadors stranded seven baserunners, two in a scoreless second inning after McKenzie and Arroyo led off with singles.

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