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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Matadors Rally After Bad Start

College baseball: Northridge spots Oregon State a 6-0 lead in first inning before coming back for 17-7 victory.

February 03, 2001|JOHN KLIMA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

NORTHRIDGE — The way Cal State Northridge played in the first inning Friday, Coach Mike Batesole was probably ready to pull his team off the field.

The Matadors put on a bad baseball clinic, committing four errors and allowing Oregon State to take a 6-0 lead.

But Northridge got a determined pitching performance from left-hander Andy Davidson and slugged its way back for a 17-7 nonconference victory at Northridge.

The Matadors (4-2) collected 16 hits, including 11 for extra bases. J.T. Stotts went five for six with six runs batted in. He homered twice, including a three-run shot in the sixth inning that gave Northridge its first lead, 8-7.

"This is the year to let it loose," said Stotts, a senior from Hart High who has four home runs. "It's time for us to step up and beat up on people. None of what went on in the first inning. We've all had enough of losing like that."

Davidson kept Northridge close, allowing only one run after the first inning. By the time he was relieved at the start of the seventh, the Matadors had slugged deep into the thin Oregon State bullpen.

"That [first inning] was terrible," Davidson said. "We didn't wake up on the right side of the bed. But we battled. That's what it's all about."

Davidson (2-0), a junior from Hart, effectively mixed off-speed pitches. He fought through a laborious first inning in which he threw 28 of his 84 pitches.

Davidson scattered nine hits in six innings, struck out two and walked two. He retired nine of the last 12 batters he faced.

"He's the one who held it together for us," Batesole said. "I like what he did in the situation. He gave us a chance to get back in it. That's not easy to do when you're down 6-0 after half an inning."

Northridge went to work immediately, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first against Oregon State starter Thad Johnson.

Eric Verbryke, who went four for five with five RBIs, hit a run-scoring double in the first inning and added a two-run double in the fifth that cut the Matadors' deficit to 7-5.

Stotts' three-run homer off Craig Hays (0-1) started an onslaught. The Matadors scored five runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth off four pitchers.

Northridge relievers Merrill Dunn and Bobby Graves combined for three scoreless innings.

Stotts and Verbryke atoned for their first-inning errors and Northridge didn't commit an error after the first inning.

"That was a big hole to climb out of," Batesole said. "It was a test."

Northridge, which lost four of five to Oregon State last year, hosts the Beavers today and Sunday in 1 p.m. games.

"Our backs were shoved against the wall," Stotts said. "We looked at each other said, 'Let's get this thing going.' "

Tim Arroyo hit his second home run of the season for Northridge. Verbryke and Eric Ballew each had two doubles.

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