Matadors Battle Ranked Opponents in No. 27 Mustangs, No. 11 Bruins This Week
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors play their first Big West Conference series at home this week with a three-game set against the No. 27 Cal Poly Mustangs. The series will begin on Friday, Apr. 13 at 3 p.m. at Matador Field. Following the weekend series against Cal Poly, the Matadors will travel to face cross-town rival No. 11 UCLA on Tuesday, Apr. 17 at 6 p.m. All games this week will have live stats coverage and will also include a radio broadcast accessible from the schedule page at GoMatadors.com. Due to forecasted inclement weather this weekend, fans are encouraged to monitor the official website and Twitter feeds for any schedule changes.
GAMES #33-35: Northridge Matadors (14-18, 2-4 Big West) vs. No. 27 Cal Poly Mustangs (20-11, 4-2 Big West)
Friday, Apr. 13 - 3 p.m.
Saturday, Apr. 14 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, Apr. 15 - 1 p.m.
Matador Field (1,000) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio: Mark Schuermann, Ryan McEachern, Jim Henry - Play-By-Play
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUNBaseball
Northridge Matadors at No. 11 UCLA Bruins (22-7, 8-4 Pac-12)
Tuesday, Apr. 17 - 6 p.m.
Jackie Robinson Stadium (1,250) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio: Kevin Strauss - Play-By-Play
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 continued Big West play on the road last week at UC Santa Barbara. Despite losing the first two games in the series, Northridge rebounded for a win in the finale and followed it up with a victory at Matador Field over CSU Bakersfield on April 10 to split the four games this week. The Matadors came from behind to defeat the Gauchos 4-2 on Saturday, Apr. 7 and scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to top the Roadrunners in walkoff fashion on Tuesday. Northridge went 2-2 on the week and has won two straight heading into the conference series against Cal Poly at home this weekend.
Northridge lost the first two games at UC Santa Barbara, nearly winning the second as Kyle Attl hit his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to left, to pull the Matadors within one in the sixth inning. The Gauchos were able to match with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to win the game 8-4. In the finale, the Matadors were trailing 2-1 before scoring three runs in the sixth following an error. Jerry Keel pitched 6.0 innings for the victory and Attl and Chester Pak each picked up RBIs.
In the win over CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday, Miles Williams hit his fifth home run of the season and drove in three runs in the bottom of the first. The Roadrunner were able to chip away until tying the game in the top of the ninth on a single with two outs. Steven Keller opened the bottom of the ninth with a double to left before being replaced by Pak. With two outs, Ryan Raslowsky hit a grounder that was misplayed by the shortstop, allowing Pak to score the winning run from third. Northridge ended CSUB's six-game winning streak and took its second in a row by a run from the Roadrunners.
A Closer Look at No. 27 Cal Poly
The Cal Poly Mustangs enter the weekend with a 20-11 record and are ranked as high as No. 27 by Collegiate Baseball. The Mustangs are tied for second in the Big West at 4-2 and most recently lost 6-5 in a non-conference game at UC Santa Barbara on Tueday, Apr. 10.
Mike Miller leads the Mustangs with a .362 batting average and has started all 31 games this season. Miller ties for the team lead with 10 doubles and is first with four triples. Mitch Haniger is hitting .302 in 2012 and leads the team and the conference with six home runs and has also collected 33 RBIs.
Northridge will face Joey Wagman, Kyle Anderson and Kyle Brueggemann on the mound this weekend. Wagman is currently 5-2 with a 2.05 ERA in eight starts and leads the staff with 41 strikeouts. Anderson is 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA and Brueggemann owns a 4-2 record with a 4.01 ERA. Following the series the weekend, Cal Poly will return home to face Fresno State on April 17.
A Closer Look at No. 11 UCLA
Since these two teams last met in Northridge's home opener on Feb. 21, the UCLA Bruins have gone 20-5 and climbed up to No. 11 in the country. The Matadors and Bruins will play on Tuesday, Apr. 17 in Los Angeles following CSUN's series against Cal Poly and UCLA's set at Arizona.
The Bruins are led offensively by Tyler Heineman, who is batting .412 with five doubles and 18 RBIs. Trevor Brown leads the team with 27 RBIs and also has seven doubles, a triple and two home runs. Jeff Gelalich has collected six home runs on the season to lead the way.
Adam Plutko has a team-low 3.26 ERA among starters and is 4-2 while Grant Watson is 7-1 with a 5.06 ERA and 27 strikeouts. Ryan Deeter is a likely option out of the bullpen and is 1-0 with a 0.59 ERA in 19 appearances.
Heading into the first home Big West Conference series, the Matadors are staking their claim in numerous Top 10 lists. As a team, Cal State Northridge has a combined batting average of .252. The Matadors have hit the sixth most doubles (43) and are second in the league with 11 home runs. The 254 hits collected are fifth in the conference standings. The team ranks tied for 28th in the country with 37 sacrifice bunts as of April 8. The pitching staff ranks third in the conference with seven saves on the year and tie for second with three complete games.
Individually, junior Marty Bowen ties for sixth with 15 walks and sixth with five sac bunts. Sophomore outfielder Miles Williams is now second in the league with five home runs. He has also drawn 14 walks, which tie for eighth in the Big West and his 20 runs scored tie for seventh.
Junior Brett Balkan has been hit by a pitch 12 times, which rank him first in the conference. Senior Steven Keller checks in tied for seventh with two home runs. Freshman catcher Alexis Mercado ties for sixth in the league as he has caught six runners attempting to steal. Junior Kyle Attl is tied for first in the conference as he has helped turn 19 double plays this season.
A group of Matador pitchers find themselves in the conference rankings as well. Junior Alex Muren is third in the conference with 54.1 innings pitched and ties for the league lead with five wins on the season, which are good for a tie for 36th in the country. His two complete games tie for 41st in all of Division I baseball as of April 8.
Freshmen Louis Cohen ties for third with three saves and Cole Hallum ties for seventh with two on the season, and Cohen is fifth as he has finished nine games on the mound for the Matadors. Cohen is also second in the league with 16 appearances in 2012. Another freshman, Jerry Keel, is second in the league among starting pitchers with a 1.68 ERA, good for 39th in the NCAA. All Big West statistics are current as of April 9.
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. Against San Diego at the SDSU Aztec Invitational on Mar. 3, he struck out five batters in five innings of work. Muren then went 7.0 innings with three strikeouts in a win over Indiana on Mar. 10. He threw his first nine-inning complete game in a victory over St. Mary's on Mar. 23, striking out a career-high six hitters. Muren has pitched a team-high 54.1 innings, leads the staff with 27 strikeouts and has a 4.47 ERA. He also leads the team with five victories on the year.
Where There's a Williams, There's a Way
Sophomore Miles Williams currently has a .267 batting average and leads the squad with 21 runs scored and 20 RBIs after 32 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. At LMU on Mar. 20, Williams drove in two runs and now has four multi-RBI games. He also hit a two-run home run at #13 Cal State Fullerton in Northridge's win on April 1 and a three-run shot in a win over CSU Bakersfield on April 10.
Good to Be Back
Senior outfielder Todd Eskelin has made his presence known through the first half of the season. Playing his first significant time since 2009, Eskelin currently has a .264 batting average and has five 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 also has eight RBIs this year. He has scored 12 runs, good for fifth on the team, and ties for fourth on the team with 11 walks. In 27 games this year, Eskelin has a .375 slugging percentage.
Junior shortstop Kyle Attl is coming into his own in his third season with the program. He is hitting .207 thus far and had his hit streak stopped at eight games against San Francisco on Mar. 2. In addition to five sacrifice bunts, which tie for the team lead, Attl also has six doubles and 14 RBIs and has scored 17 runs. 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. In the Mar. 10 win over Indiana, he went 2-for-5 at the plate and scored four runs, two shy of tying the all-time mark for a single game in Northridge history. Attl went 2-for-3 at LMU on Mar. 20 and drove in a run while scoring two in the 12-1 victory. He hit a three-run homer at UC Santa Barbara on Apr. 6 to lead the Northridge attack.
On an Even Keel
Freshman left-hander Jerry Keel made a positive impact in his first career appearance over the opening weekend at Sacramento State. Coming in as a reliever, Keel pitched six innings and allowed one run while striking out four hitters. Although he gave up nine hits, Keel consistently worked 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 pitched his first complete game for CSUN in a victory over then-No. 13 Cal State Fullerton on April 1, scattering nine hits and not allowing a run after the bottom of the first. For his work in the game, Keel was named as a Primetime Performer of the week by Collegiate Baseball 360, one of 16 players in the nation to earn the recognition. Keel is 3-1 and has a team-best 1.68 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 2012.
Junior Adam Barry is building on the productive summer season he had last year, as he owns a .286 batting average with six doubles and 12 RBIs. 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. In the series against Indiana (Mar. 9-11), Barry went 5-for-9 with four RBIs and two runs scored. He went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the win at LMU on Mar. 20.