Evidence from a federal investigation into the airplane crash that killed New York Yankee catcher Thurman Munson Aug. 2 points heavily toward pilot error as the cause, one of the investigators of the accident said yesterday.

Edward P. McAvoy, air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said engine failure has been ruled out.

McAvoy said that test results on the engines of Munson's Cessna Citation jet showed that they appeared to have been functioning normally when the plane crashed short of the runway at the Akron-Canton Airport.

McAvoy and other investigators will return to the airport Tuesday to tear down the flap system of the plane to check for system malfunctions and examine flight enigne instruments "to see the power setting at the time of the accident."

On the Maryland racing front, members of the state racing commission said that Sunday and night racing could be in the offing if the state's four thoroughbred tracks are consolidated into two tracks.

Testifying before the Governor's Commission on Racing Reform, the members said they agree with track owners and horse breeders that the state's racing industry is in bad shape when attendance and wagering are considered.

The commission is to make recommendations in January to the state legislature, which has failed to act on consolidation proposals since 1970.

The four thoroughbred tracks involved are Pimlico, Bowie, Laurel and Timonium. Members of the racing commission said Pimlico, the site of the annual Preakness, would survive a consolidation and that Timonium would survive with a season limited to the 10- to 12-day period of the state fair.

Yankee manager Billy Martin says major league baseball hurt itself by hiring minor league umpires to fill in during the regular umpires' early season work stoppage, and keeping some of them on after the problem was settled.

"The sooner we get rid of these scabs, the better off baseball will be," said Martin after being ejected from Thursday night's 5-1 loss to Minnesota by Dallas Parks, of Adelphi, Md., one of the new umpires, after a balls-and-strikes dispute.