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Frick Blows Away Cal Poly in Ninth

College baseball: He breezes through inning by striking out the side to save 4-3 victory for Northridge in the wind.

April 07, 2001|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Mike Frick saved the day again for Cal State Northridge.

And a blustery day it was.

Frick entered in the ninth inning Friday and struck out the side in order--not to mention inclement weather--to record his seventh save as Northridge held on for a 4-3 Big West Conference victory over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Conditions were nasty for the 413 spectators who braved cold wind, increasing fog and a steady drizzle at Baggett Stadium for both teams' Big West opener.

Frick, the closer, was the same toward the Mustangs in the ninth, setting down the side on 14 pitches.

The 6-foot-3 junior right-hander from Buena High has made a staff-high 23 appearances, all in relief. No other Northridge pitcher has recorded a save.

"He's throwing the ball well," Coach Mike Batesole of Northridge said.

"He's been doing it all year. We've got a long ways to go, but to this point, he's done a good job handling that role."

Frick capped another solid pitching performance for the Matadors (22-11), with left-hander Andy Davidson holding the Mustangs (19-12) to one run through 6 1/3 innings and middle man Merrill Dunn striking out two and allowing one hit in 1 2/3 innings.

"You'll hear it said a lot, championships are won with relief pitching," Batesole said.

"We're a million miles from a championship, but it's one of the most underrated parts of the game, getting good, solid relief pitching."

Frick mowed down a swinging Andrew Toussaint, then threw called third strikes past Scott Anderson and Scott Sheldon.

Frick struck out Anderson on three pitches.

Toussaint, Anderson and Sheldon each had one of the Mustangs' six hits.

"It's not ideal game weather," Frick said. "You'd rather have it sunny and nice. But we're scheduled to play ball right now, so that's what we're going to do.

"It just takes a little bit longer to get warmed up. That's something that you learn. You just have to prepare ahead of time. It was definitely a pitcher's park. Anything hit to center or right got pushed down by the wind."

Or pushed around.

Cal Poly pulled even, 3-3, in the seventh when right fielder Jeremy Hanson misplayed Bryan Gant's fly ball and it dropped for a two-run double.

Dunn ended the inning with a strikeout two batters later.

"The wind held it up and I couldn't see it," Hanson said. "It was tough, especially when the fog started rolling in.

"It was hard. It rained and it stopped and started and stopped. [The bat] was slipping off and we were just using pine tar as much as we could."

Hanson gave the Matadors a 2-0 lead in the second inning with his fifth home run.

Jason Allec added a run-scoring single as Northridge took a 3-0 lead against starter Brian Haskell.

Sheldon led off the third inning with a home run to left off Davidson.

Northridge scored the deciding run in the eighth when Eric Verbryke beat out a relay throw from second for what would have been an inning-ending double play and Mike Serrata scored from third.

Cal Poly Coach Ritch Price protested the call, to no avail.

The teams are scheduled to resume their three-game series today at 5 and Sunday at 1, although rain is forecast.

"As long as [conditions are] the same for both teams," Batesole said. "That's just the way it is."

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