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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | KEEPING TABS

Horwitz Giving Cal Fresh Look

April 21, 2001|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ

Left fielder Brian Horwitz, the former Crespi High standout, arrived at California last fall with the idea of making an impression on Coach David Esquer.

"[Esquer] told me I would get my chance," Horwitz said.

Once the opportunity came, Horwitz didn't let it slip through his hands.

Entering Cal's three-game Pacific 10 Conference series at Arizona that started Friday, Horwitz was batting .317 with 20 runs batted in and a team-high 12 doubles.

He had a school-record 23-game hitting streak earlier, batting .385 (37 of 96) during the span.

Horwitz, 6 feet 2 and 180 pounds, bats third in a lineup that includes two other freshmen from the region, third baseman Conor Jackson from El Camino Real and shortstop Jeff Dragicevich from Westlake.

"You just have to watch [Horwitz] swing to know he can hit," Esquer said. "He makes contact and doesn't strike out a lot. He has a lot of poise."

Horwitz showed great composure against Stanford on March 3.

With the score tied, 2-2, Horwitz slapped a single to center field to knock in the winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Stanford, ranked No. 1 by Baseball America, was ranked No. 9 at the time.

"That's a new rivalry to get used to," Horwitz said.

So is college life, especially the balancing act between athletics and academics.

"We just had midterms and we had to travel [to games]," Horwitz said. "It was pretty tough."

But Horwitz, an economics major, is not about to trade his scholarship. He lives in a dorm with Dragicevich and plans to move to a house with Jackson and several other teammates next year.

"I like it a lot up here," Horwitz said. "The competition is so good. Everyone can play baseball well. Just the fact I'm playing as a freshman in the Pac-10 is great."

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Another Crespi graduate continues to show he's among the top players in the West Coast Conference.

Left-hander Barry Matthews, who also played at Pierce College, was named WCC pitcher of the week after giving up two hits, striking out nine and walking none in eight innings to lead Gonzaga past Portland, 8-0, on April 14.

Matthews, a senior who also plays the outfield, is 5-1 with a team-best 2.70 earned-run average. He's batting .326 with 19 RBIs and is tied for the team lead in home runs with eight.

Last season, Matthews batted .344 and led the Bulldogs with 17 doubles and 51 RBIs. He had a school-record 26-game hitting streak. His record was 9-5 with a 5.04 ERA.

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Senior left-hander Brian Kriegler, a Campbell Hall graduate, has won his last four starts for Claremont-Mudd.

Kriegler is 4-2 with a 4.30 ERA after pitching six scoreless innings to defeat Redlands, 20-5, on Saturday.

His brother, Greg, is a junior catcher batting .321 with 18 RBIs for Washington University in St. Louis.

Greg has seven multiple-hit games and had a seven-game hitting streak, second longest for the Bears this season.

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Senior catcher David Lusk, from Kennedy and Pierce College, is batting .290 with four home runs and 17 RBIs for Cal State Sacramento. . . . Senior outfielder Becky Witt, who played at Louisville, leads the Fresno State softball team with a .369 batting average. She's a three-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection. . . . Sophomore third baseman Kevin Howard, from Westlake, is batting .335 with a team-leading 11 doubles for Miami.

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