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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Fullerton Gets Homered, 15-1

College baseball: Arroyo hits three home runs and Northridge has four in a row and seven overall in rout of Big West leader.

April 21, 2001|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NORTHRIDGE — Four jacks and an ace gave Cal State Northridge the upper hand in a 15-1 Big West Conference rout of Cal State Fullerton under gloomy skies Friday at Northridge.

Northridge (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 and an eight-inning, seven-strikeout performance by junior left-hander Andy Davidson.

The Matadors hit seven home runs, three by first baseman Tim Arroyo, who led off the second and fourth with homers and had a three-run shot in the seventh.

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 senior left-hander Jon Smith (7-1). The Matadors scored 10 runs in the inning to erase 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 by Eastern Illinois in 1998--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."

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."

Smith, who had allowed only one home run this season, was at a loss to explain the Northridge outburst.

"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 had its 14-game winning streak snapped and gave them their first loss in conference play.

The Titans are ranked in the top 10 in three major polls, including No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball.

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

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

"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 [Friday]."

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