NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors return home to Matador Field this weekend and host the Indiana Hoosiers for three games. The series will begin on Friday, Mar. 9 with the first pitch scheduled at 2 p.m. The second game will be played on Saturday, Mar. 10 at 1 p.m. and the finale is set for Sunday, Mar. 11 at 1 p.m. The series finale is also Little League Sunday at Matador Field, with all little leaguers ages 13 and under wearing their uniform receiving free admission. Following the series with the Hoosiers, the Matadors will play two games against Rhode Island on Tuesday and Wednesday Mar. 13-14.
Northridge Matadors (6-6) vs. Indiana Hoosiers (3-8)
Friday, Mar. 9 - 2 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 10 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Mar. 11 - 1 p.m.
Matador Field (1,000) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio: Radio Broadcasts for Select Home Games (See Schedule)
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUNBaseball
Can't Make it Out to the Field?
Follow the Matadors online all season long at GoMatadors.com on your computer or smartphone. A majority of this season's games will feature an Internet radio broadcast provided by Stretch Internet that can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection, including tablet computers, Android products and the Apple iPhone. If you miss a game, you can access the broadcasts on demand for free by clicking the "On Demand" tab in the CSUN audio portal. As a shortcut, fans can open the audio portal by clicking on the headphones icon at the top of any page of GoMatadors.com.
Games this season will also include live stats coverage that can be accessed by clicking the "Live Stats" link on the baseball schedule page. Links to radio coverage (for both teams, if applicable) will also be on the schedule page. As always, game-by-game coverage and news updates can also be found on Twitter by following @CSUNBaseball and @GoMatadors.
Results from Last Week
The Matadors went 1-3 last week at the SDSU Aztec Invitational presented by Sheraton Mission Valley. Northridge opened up play in the tournament against the San Diego Toreros, taking a 4-3 victory. Senior Steven Keller hit a home run in consecutive at bats and drove in all four Northridge runs in the win. After hitting a three-run homer to give CSUN a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning, Keller ledoff the seventh with a solo shot to left field to put the Matadors ahead for good at 4-3. Senior Justen Gorski got the win for CSUN and freshman Louis Cohen pitched the final three innings without allowing a runner to reach base for his second save of 2012.
The Matadors dropped the second game of the Invitational to San Francisco on Mar. 2. After trailing 3-0 going into the bottom of the sixth Northridge scored five runs, including four in the seventh inning, to take the lead. The Dons were able to ralley, however, and scored a run in both the eighth and ninth innings to send the game to extras. San Francisco scored once in the 10th to come away with a 6-5 decision. Cal Vogelsang led CSUN with two RBIs and Marty Bowen went 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI in the loss.
A rematch with San Diego followed and the Matadors could not keep the Toreros off the scoreboard early. Northridge fell behind 4-0 and did not get closer than 4-1 in the bottom of the second in a 13-3 defeat. Chester Pak, Nate Ring and Brett Balkan each drove in a run for CSUN.
In the final game of the weekend on Sunday evening, the Matadors locked into an offensive battle with San Diego State at Tony Gwynn Stadium. After trailing 3-1, Northridge scored twice in the fifth to tie the game. The Aztecs took a 6-3 lead into the eighth before CSUN tied it again. A six-run eighth for SDSU proved to be the difference as a three-run home run for Miles Williams sparked a rally in the ninth that came up just short.
A Closer Look at Indiana
The Matadors and Hoosiers will meet for the first time on the diamond this weekend at Matador Field. Northridge and Indiana will play the first series against one another in program history beginning on Friday, Mar. 9 at 2 p.m. The Hoosiers come into the weekend with a record of 3-8 after losing midweek games to Louisville and Indiana State this week.
The Hoosiers opened up the 2012 season by taking two out of three games at the Big Ten/Big East Challenege in St. Petersburg, Fla. After losing on Opening Day to Connecticut, Indiana defeated Cincinnati and Pittsburgh to wrap up the weekend. The Hoosiers also have a win against East Tennessee State University
Indiana is led on offense by Chris Sujka, who is hitting at a .303 clip through 10 games. He is tied for the team lead with 10 hits and leads the squad with three doubles and 12 runs batted in. Kyle Schwarber has compiled a .270 batting average an has also started all 10 games. He has 10 hits, including a double and a triple, and leads the team with three home runs. Schwarber is second on the team with nine RBIs and has two stolen bases on the year.
Joey DeNato has the lowest ERA among starters at 2.12 and has made three starts this season. DeNato has a 1-1 record and has a team-high 11 strikeouts in 17.0 innings pitched. Relief pitcher Matt Dearden has made six apperances and has a 2.00 ERA. He has pitched 9.0 innings and has seven strikeouts while allowing just five hits. Stats for Indiana are current as of Mar. 6.
Through the first three weeks of games, a number of Matadors are making their way into the individual conference Top 10 lists. As a team, Cal State Northridge ranks fourth in the Big West Conference with a team batting average of .278. The Matadors have hit the sixth most doubles (16) and are tied for the conference lead with six home runs. The 108 hits racked up are also fourth in the conference standings. The team ranks in a tie for ninth in the country with 16 sacrifice bunts.
Individually, senior Todd Eskelin has cracked the rankings for six different categories. The West Hills, Calif. native sits seventh in the league with a .543 slugging percentage. His .477 on base percentage is also seventh-best and he is tied for seventh with nine runs scored. He is also tied for fourth in the Big West for doubles (4) and walks (8).
Sophomore outfielder Miles Williams is 10th in the league with a .357 batting average and sixth with a .571 slugging percentage. Williams also ties for the league lead with three home runs. He is tied for ninth with eight RBIs, fifth with 24 total bases, second with four sacrifice bunts. Junior Brett Balkan is tied for fifth with nine RBIs and he has been hit by a pitch five times, which rank him in a tie for first in the conference and tie for 27th in the nation. Senior Steven Keller checks in tied for fourth with two home runs. Freshman catcher Alexis Mercado ties for first in the league as he has caught six runners attempting to steal this season.
A pair of Matador pitchers find themselves in the conference rankings as well, led by junior Alex Muren. Muren ranks ninth in innings pitched (18.2) and ties for the conference lead with two wins on the season. Freshman Louis Cohen is second in the Big West Conference with two saves on the season and is also tied for fourth as he has finished four games on the mound for the Matadors.
Bad Moon Rising
Junior right-hander Alex Muren pitched a one-hitter in CSUN's win over Northwestern in the first game of a doubleheader on Feb. 25. He struck out three in seven innings and retired the final 12 hitters after allowing a single in the fourth. He earned his first victory of the season in Northridge's 6-4 Opening Day win over the Sacramento State Hornets. He pitched 6.2 innings and struck out two on the day, holding opposing hitters to a .167 batting average. Muren, a Ramona, Calif. native, now has compiled a record of 6-3 in his Northridge career and has 48 strikeouts over two-plus seasons. Against San Diego at the SDSU Aztec Invitational on Mar. 3, he matched his career high by striking out five batters in five innings of work. Muren has pitched a team-high 18.2 innings and is tied for the team lead with 10 strikeouts.
Where There's a Williams, There's a Way
Sophomore Miles Williams has been a force on both sides of the ball early on in 2012. Williams is second on the team with a .357 batting average, is tied for the team lead with nine runs scored and is second on the team with eight RBIs after 12 games. In the final game against Sacramento State, Williams blasted a three-run home run off of the third story of the parking structure adjacent to John Smith Field. Against #22 UCLA, Williams showed his defensive prowess as well, throwing out a runner at the plate trying to score in the second inning. In the final game of the SDSU Aztec Invitational at San Diego State, he hit a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth. Williams is the only Matador to reach base in all 12 games this season.
Good to Be Back
Senior outfielder Todd Eskelin has made his presence known as a key piece of the offense through the first 12 games of the season. Playing his first significant time since the 2009 year, Eskelin is currently third on the team with a .343 batting average and has four doubles and a home run. His three-run home run against then-#22 UCLA was his first round-tripper since the 2009 season and he is also tied for third on the squad with five RBIs. He has scored seven runs, tied for the team high, and also leads the team with eight walks. In 11 games this year, Eskelin has compiled a .543 slugging percentage. He is one of two Matadors to have reached base in each game played in 2012.
Junior shortstop Kyle Attl is coming into his own in his third season with the program. He is hitting .217 thus far and had his hit streak stopped at eight games (tied for a team high), against San Francisco on Mar. 2. In addition to two sacrifice bunts, Attl also has three doubles and four RBIs. He drove in his first run of the campaign with an RBI single against then-#22 UCLA in the team's home opener. Attl also had a double in the win against San Diego on Mar. 1 at the SDSU Aztec Invitational. He has reached base in nine games this year and has also collected multiple hits on two occasions.
Breathing a Simis of Relief
Junior Tommy Simis is transitioning nicely into his role as the team's starting second baseman. Through 12 games this year, Simis is hitting .279 and has recorded a hit in nine contests, including three multi-hit games. He has also drawn four walks and been hit by a pitch twice, finding ways to get on base when the Matadors need it. He drove in two runs to tie the game in CSUN's 4-3 win over Northwestern on Feb. 25 and had two hits, including a double, a run scored and an RBI against Washington. Simis also went 2-for-5 with an RBI in the game against San Francisco on Mar. 2 at the SDSU Aztec Invitational.
On an Even Keel
Freshman left-hander Jerry Keel made a positive impact on the coaches and fans alike in his first career appearance over the opening weekend at Sacramento State. Coming into the game as a reliever, Keel pitched six innings and allowed one run while striking out four hitters. Although he gave up nine hits, Keel was able to consistently work out of trouble and forced the Hornets to strand nine runners on base. Keel, originally from Palmdale, Calif., pitched 5.0 innings in the finale against Northwestern on Feb. 26 and allowed one earned run with three strikeouts for the first win of his collegiate career. He earned a start against San Diego State on Mar. 4 and struckout three in 4.1 innings.
Junior Adam Barry is building on the productive summer season he had last year, as he owns a team-high .438 batting average with a double and four RBIs in 2012. After leading his team to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League championship last summer and setting numerous individual league hitting records in the process, Barry was selected as a Third Team Summer Collegiate All-American Team by Perfect Game USA. Against San Diego State on Mar. 4, Barry went 2-for-2 at the plate, drew a walk, put down a sacrifice bunt and also scored a run for the Matadors.
Northridge has brought in a number of new faces to the program this year, including four junior transfers. Cal Vogelsang, Brett Balkan, Dylan Young and Harper White all bring in collegiate experience, while CSUN also sees the return of redshirts Louis Cohen and Chester Pak, who sat out their first year in 2011. In addition, the Matadors welcome 12 freshmen to the squad that look to get action in their first season with Northridge. In total, CSUN has added six infielders, six pitchers, three catchers, and an outfielder to give more depth and strength to the program. Many of the rookies on the team this season can also be used in other positions, adding versatility to the lineup as well.
The Cal State Northridge Matadors have a number of prominent programs on the schedule this season in both the non-conference and Big West portions of the calendar. Among featured games on the slate this year include a home-and-home series with perennial power UCLA and CSUN will also welcome Pac-12 contender Washington to Matador Field. Northridge will compete in an invitational at San Diego State and will face the University of San Francisco, an NCAA tournament team in 2011. The Indiana Hoosiers make their first trip to the San Fernando Valley in early March before the Matadors embark on a greuling road trip that includes series at the University of Portland, St. Mary's and preseason No. 25 Cal State Fullerton. In addition to facing the Titans, who hosted a regional in the NCAA tournament in 2011, the Matadors will host the UC Irvine Anteaters, who came within one out of making a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.