Matadors Take Weekend Off from Big West Play, Host Roadrunners Tuesday
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
With 17 games left on the regular season schedule, the Cal State Northridge Matadors have reached their bye week in Big West Conference play. Northridge will take the weekend off from action before returning to Matador Field on Tuesday, Apr. 24 at 3 p.m. against the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners. The game will be the second of three scheduled between the two programs this year, and is a rematch of Northridge's 4-3 victory on April 10. The game will feature live stats and radio coverage available on GoMatadors.com and will also be broadcast on BigWest.TV. A link to the free video coverage will be made available on GoMatadors.com before the game.
Northridge Matadors (16-20) vs. CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (17-18)
Tuesday, Apr. 24 - 3 p.m.
Matador Field (1,000) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio: Geoff Herberg - Play-By-Play
Video: BigWest.TV (Free)
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 captured their first Big West Conference series of the season last weekend by winning two out of three against No. 27 Cal Poly. After winning the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 14, Northridge took the finale to clinch the series from the Mustangs and move into a tie for fourth place in the conference standings at 4-5. The Matadors then played a non-conference game at No. 11 UCLA on April 17 in a rematch of the game between the two sides that the Bruins won at Matador Field on February 22. The Bruins defeated the Matadors this time around as well, taking a 12-4 decision to give CSUN a split week in four games.
In the first game of a doubleheader against Cal Poly on Saturday, Northridge was able to win a back-and-forth contest in extra innings. After opening up a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh, the Matadors were unable to hold off a late charge as the Mustangs put up three in the top of the ninth to go ahead 5-4. Northridge was able to buckle down, however, and scored a run in the bottom of the ninth on a wild play to send the game to extra innings. With the bases loaded and one out, Northridge grounded into an unconventional double play as a runner got caught up between second and third with two outs. Pinch runner Alex Muren was able to score from third before the final out was recorded, tying the game for CSUN.
Relief pitcher Louis Cohen then worked quickly in the 10th and 11th innings, setting up the Matador offense for heroics in the bottom of the 11th. With two outs and Chester Pak at third after a leadoff double, Ryan Raslowsky chopped a ball over the third baseman's head to win the game for the Matadors.
The Mustangs rebounded and took the second game of the doubleheader 6-1 to even the series going into Sunday's finale. In the Sunday game, Cal Poly got out to an early 2-0 lead in the second before the Matadors answered with four in their half, including a two-run home run by Kyle Attl. Cal Vogelsang had three hits as the Matadors won 6-3.
On Tuesday at UCLA, Vogelsang added another three hits but the Matadors could not hold off a hot Bruin offense, losing 12-4. Steven Keller, Nathan Ring and Michael Livingston each recorded two hits for Northridge in the defeat.
A Closer Look at CSU Bakersfield
The CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners currently sit at 17-18 overall and will face Fresno State on the road for one game on Saturday, Apr. 21 before travelling to Matador Field to take on Northridge on Tuesday. In the last meeting between the two programs, Northridge won 4-3 at Matador Field on April 10 as a run scored in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Since the last meeting, the Roadrunners have gone 2-2, taking two out of three games at UC Riverside last weekend before a loss to USC on April 17. Oscar Sanay leads the team offensively with a .343 batting average and has started in all but one game for CSUB. He has a team-high 46 hits and 21 runs scored. Cael Brockmeyer has collected 22 RBIs this year to lead the Roadrunners and four different players have multiple home runs this year.
Spenser Messmore has a team-best ERA of 1.81 and has a 3-3 record in 15 appearances. He has made four starts and has three complete games with 32 strikeouts on the season. Taylor Aikenhead leads the staff with a 6-3 record and has gone the distance five times in 10 starts. After facing the Matadors on Tuesday, the Roadrunners will head to Nebraska for a weekend series on Friday, Apr. 27.
Heading into the halfway point of the Big West season, the Matadors are staking their claim in numerous Top 10 lists. As a team, Cal State Northridge has a combined batting average of .260. The Matadors have hit the fourth most doubles (55) and are second in the league with 13 home runs. The 307 hits collected are fifth in the conference standings. The team ranks tied for 26th in the country with 43 sacrifice bunts as of April 15. The pitching staff ranks third in the conference with eight saves on the year and tie for third with three complete games.
Individually, junior Marty Bowen sits just on the outside of the list with 15 walks and five sac bunts. Freshman Ryan Raslowsky is 10th with six sacrifices. Sophomore outfielder Miles Williams is second in the league with five home runs and is tied for 10th with 20 RBIs. He has also drawn 14 walks and his 23 runs scored put him ninth in the Big West standings.
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 eighth with two home runs. Freshman catcher Alexis Mercado ties for seventh 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 23 double plays this season and he is also tied for fourth with three home runs and sixth with seven sac bunts.
A group of Matador pitchers find themselves in the conference rankings as well. Junior Alex Muren is fifth in the conference with 60.0 innings pitched and ties for second in the league with five wins on the season.
Freshmen Louis Cohen ties for sixth with three saves and Cole Hallum ties for ninth with teammate Harley Holt with two on the season, and Cohen is tied for fourth as he has finished 11 games on the mound for the Matadors. Cohen is also tied for first in the league with 19 appearances in 2012. Another freshman, Jerry Keel, is tied for fourth in the league among starting pitchers with a 2.08 ERA, which puts him 64th in the nation. All Big West statistics are current as of April 18.
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 60.0 innings, leads the staff with 32 strikeouts and has a 4.50 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 .263 batting average and leads the squad with 23 runs scored and 20 RBIs after 36 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.
Junior Cal Vogelsang has found his rythym on both sides of the ball and has climbed the leaderboard in the clubhouse offensively as he is now third on the team with a .297 batting average. Vogelsang, who has seen time in both the outfield and at first and second base, leads the squad with 38 hits this season and has Northridge's only triple. He has one home run and 10 RBIs on the year in 35 games played. Vogelsang had at one point a 12 game hitting streak, the longest this season for CSUN, and also has collected the most multiple hit games with 11, including recording three hits on four times.
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 and ranks seventh on the team with 11 walks. In 30 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 .218 thus far and had his hit streak stopped at eight games against San Francisco on Mar. 2. In addition to seven sacrifice bunts, which lead the team, Attl ties for a team high with seven doubles and has 17 RBIs while scoring 18 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 and added another home run in the series finale win against No. 27 Cal Poly on April 15.
The Keel Deal
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 2.08 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 2012.
Junior Adam Barry is building on the productive summer season he had last year, as he owns a .283 batting average with seven doubles and 14 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.
Freshman Ryan Raslowsky and redshirt freshman Chester Pak have played key roles in both of Northridge's walkoff victories this season. On April 10 against CSU Bakersfield, Northridge won in the bottom of the ninth as Raslowsky reached on a fielding error that scored Pak. In CSUN's next game, Raslowsky was again at the bat with Pak on third when he chopped a single over the head of the third baseman in the bottom of the 11th as Northridge defeated No. 27 Cal Poly in the first game of a doubleheader on April 14.
Northridge has brought in a number of new faces to the program this year, including four junior transfers. Cal Vogelsang, Brett Balkan, and Dylan Young 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.