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Cal Poly Wins as Matadors Play One to Forget

College baseball: Mustangs collect 14 hits off six Northridge pitchers in 14-7 Big West victory.


SAN LUIS OBISPO — No member of the Cal State Northridge baseball team needed to be told.

Not Northridge Coach Mike Batesole. Not the parade of six pitchers who allowed 14 hits.

Not shortstop J.T. Stotts.

"I don't think the team likes to talk about it, but it eats me up inside when we play like this," Stotts said.

Sophomore right-hander Tyler Fitch pitched seven strong innings Saturday and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo avenged a loss Friday to Northridge with a 14-7 Big West Conference victory at chilly Baggett Stadium.

Northridge (22-12, 1-1 in the Big West) and Cal Poly (20-12, 1-1) play the rubber match of the series today at 1.

The sooner the Matadors take the field, the sooner they can forget Saturday's outing, arguably among their worst this season.

Sophomore left-hander Bill Murphy (6-3) of Northridge filled the bases in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings as the Mustangs pressured the starter to break open a 1-1 tie.

The relievers didn't fare much better as the Mustangs scored 13 runs in their final four at-bats.

"I just couldn't throw strikes," Murphy said. "It was just a bad day. A bad day overall for everybody."

Batesole succinctly summed up matters.

"We got beat," he said. "I'll have to look at the numbers first and see how bad it really was.

"[Fitch] threw a good game and they played better defense. We knew they were going to come out and play a better game, and sure enough they did."

Cal Poly took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Keith Anderson.

Northridge pulled even in the third on a solo home run by Ryan Haag.

Things began to unravel for Murphy in the sixth after he stranded three baserunners in the fourth and three in the fifth.

In the fifth, Kevin Tillman and Phil Thompson tagged Murphy for run-scoring singles to give the Mustangs a 3-1 lead.

Adam Nikolic pulled Northridge even with a two-run home run in the sixth.

In the bottom half, Murphy was replaced by Ryan McDermott with one out and the bases loaded.

McDermott allowed a bases-loaded walk to break the tie before being replaced by Merrill Dunn, who contributed to the rally by throwing a wild pitch.

The Mustangs' five-run inning gave them an 8-3 lead.

Northridge capitalized on two throwing errors to score four runs in the eighth. But the Mustangs' 14 hits were more telling.

"That's two games in a row we didn't play very well," Stotts said.

"We got away with one Friday. But we came out here and had a poor performance and that's not good news for us.

"We can't play like this, especially in conference. These games mean something and every one counts."

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