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Northridge Suffers Defeat of Titanic Proportions

College baseball: Fullerton hands Matadors worse loss of season, 17-5.


NORTHRIDGE — It wasn't pretty, the season or its swan song.

The Cal State Northridge baseball team, in a performance indicative of a long, arduous campaign, played its final home game Tuesday, saving its worst for last.

Cal State Fullerton, a Northridge opponent when the Matadors join the Big West Conference next season, pounded six pitchers for a season-high 23 hits and routed Northridge, 17-5, before a sparse crowd.

Fullerton (31-16), in first place in the Big West, chased sophomore left-hander Andy Davidson (4-7) with six runs--all earned--in the first inning. The Titans had a 3-0 lead before Northridge recorded an out. Davidson, who allowed four hits, lasted only one-third of an inning.

For Northridge (21-31), which plays at Washington State this weekend and closes Tuesday at Fullerton, it was the greatest margin of defeat this season and second-highest run total by a Northridge opponent.

Its roster dominated by underclassmen, Northridge figured to experience growing pains. And the Matadors have, struggling from the season's first pitch.

But Davidson, coming off two consecutive complete games, including a 7-2 victory last week against Cal Lutheran, has showed signs of encouragement down the stretch.

So have other members of Matadors' young staff. That is, until Tuesday.

"Our pitching has been pretty decent for the most part," said Davidson, from Hart High. "We gained a lot of experience this year and we have a good team with a lot of talent.

"But they're a good team with a lot of good hitters. I mean, 23 hits."

Ivan Hernandez struck out Jason Corapci and Jeff Gates with the bases loaded to end the first inning. But the Titans added a single run in the second off Hernandez for a 7-0 lead.

From there, Ryan McDermott, Merrill Dunn, Bobby Graves and Steve Busby each took the mound and took some lumps for Northridge.

All were tagged for multiple hits. Only Graves, who pitched the seventh and eighth, did not allow a run.

Northridge helped the Titans by stranding 14 baserunners. The Matadors left the bases loaded in the second and seventh innings. Northridge failed to score in the second and scored only one run in the seventh.

Northridge had 12 hits, seven off starter Jake Moon (1-1), who pitched 5 2/3 innings. Tim Arroyo was among four Matadors with two hits. He also scored three runs.

Arroyo, a sophomore first baseman from Kennedy High, is expected to be an offensive catalyst in the next two seasons. Arroyo leads Northridge with 50 runs batted in and ranks second with seven home runs.

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