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Fullerton Crashes to Earth

College baseball: Titans' 14-game winning streak ends with 15-1 loss to Cal State Northridge.

April 21, 2001|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton's 14-game winning streak came to an abrupt and emphatic end Friday, when the Titans were buried under a barrage of Cal State Northridge home runs and suffered their first Big West Conference loss of the season, 15-1 at Northridge.

The Matadors (25-16, 3-4 in the Big West), scrambling to remain in the conference race, toppled the first-place Titans (28-11, 6-1) with four consecutive home runs to begin a 10-run second inning, and also got an eight-inning, seven-strikeout performance by junior left-hander Andy Davidson.

Titan senior left-hander Jon Smith was the principal victim of a Northridge attack that finished with seven home runs--three by first baseman Tim Arroyo, who led off the second and fourth innings with homers and had a three-run shot in the seventh to close out the scoring.

Smith, who had given up only one home run all season before Friday, suffered his first loss of the season after seven consecutive victories. He failed to get out of the second, surrendering seven hits--including the four consecutive homers--and nine runs, all earned, in 1 2/3 innings of work.

"They're a good hitting team and I probably helped out in a few situations," Smith said. "I had a little control problem early."

Fullerton entered the week ranked in the top 10 in three major polls, including No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball.

The margin of the defeat was the largest for Fullerton since 1991.

"They have a lot of power all through their lineup," Titan Coach George Horton said. "You would expect that on a normal spring day out here but I was surprised with how they did it today.

"We felt like we could make a run at Davidson. And Smitty's the kind of guy who's been able to turn it around in a game. But, obviously, he didn't have his best stuff today."

Arroyo, whose 25-game hitting streak ended Tuesday against Pepperdine, was four for four and drove in seven runs. It was the first three-homer game of his career.

Jason Allec, Jeremy Hanson and Jason Gorman followed Arroyo with home runs in the second off Smith that erased a 1-0 Fullerton lead. Tim Coltey greeted reliever Charlie Zahari with a two-run homer to cap the Matadors' second 10-run inning in as many weeks.

Northridge set school records with four consecutive home runs--one shy of the NCAA record--and five in one inning.

"It's good to have our bats complemented by a great pitching performance by Andy," Arroyo said.

Davidson (6-2), shelled by Fullerton last season, allowed a leadoff home run by Brett Kay in the second before retiring seven in a row from the third through fifth.

Davidson, the staff ace, walked one and scattered eight hits.

"The story was Andy," Northridge Coach Mike Batesole said. "He throws eight innings and they hit three fly balls off him. That's getting it done. You gotta keep the ball down in our yard, especially the way the wind's blowing."

Being treated to a nine-run lead was all the motivation Davidson needed.

"They killed me last year," Davidson said. "I couldn't get out of the first inning. I woke up knowing that and I wanted to come out here with some desire and some fight.

"We've been in a slump and this is huge for the team's morale. Now we know we can beat anybody."

The series is scheduled to resume today at 1 and conclude with a 1 p.m. game Sunday.

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