May 10, 2012

Northridge Opens Final Homestand Against Surging UC Irvine

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Cal State Northridge Matadors open up the final homestand of the season with three games against the red-hot UC Irvine Anteaters this weekend at Matador Field. The Anteaters have won seven out of their last eight games, including back-to-back Big West sweeps at home, while the Matadors are coming off of their first Big West road series win in over eight years. Last season, Northridge dropped three straight at Anteater Ballpark but the program already has more conference wins this season than in 2011 and looks to continue its recent string of success. All three games this weekend will feature radio and live stats coverage on GoMatadors.com. Sunday's finale will also be the final CSUN home baseball game of 2012 to stream live online at BigWest.TV. A free link to the video feed will be available on GoMatadors.com and Jim Henry will handle play-by-play duties.

GAMES #44-46:

Northridge Matadors (20-23, 7-8) vs. UC Irvine Anteaters (27-18, 11-7)

Friday, May 11 - 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 12 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 13 - 1 p.m.
Matador Field (1,000) - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: Links Available at GoMatadors.com

Audio:
Bill Courtland (Friday and Saturday), Jim Henry (Sunday)
Video: Sunday, May 13 on BigWest.TV

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 opened the second half of the Big West Conference season in a big way over the weekend by taking two out of three games at UC Riverside. With the series win over the Highlanders, Northridge won its first over Riverside since 2002 and the program's first conference road series since a sweep at Pacific to end the 2004 season.
Northridge got off to a hot start in the series on Friday night as Adam Barry hit a three-run home run in the top of the first inning. Barry finished the game 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and four RBIs. Cal Vogelsang drove in a pair of runs and had a hit, including the game-winning RBI double in the top of the 10th that scored Ryan Raslowsky from second. The Matadors held the lead for much of the game and were up 7-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth before three runs for UC Riverside sent the game to extra frames. Louis Cohen picked up his sixth win of the year while Harley Holt struck out two in the tenth to earn the save.

The long ball helped Northridge stake a lead in the second game of the series, this time off the bat of Miles Williams in the top of the second. Williams' solo shot led the Matadors to a three-run inning and a lead they would not relinquish. After UC Riverside chipped away to make it a 3-2 game late, CSUN posted two runs in each the eighth and ninth innings to extend the lead. The Highlanders scored in the ninth but it was not enough as the Matadors took the game 7-3 and the series. Williams finished with two RBIs and Jerry Keel pitched 8.0 innings with a career-high six strikeouts in the win.

Unfortunately for the Matadors, the team was unable to complete the sweep and lost 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. After scoring an unearned run in the top of the first inning on a two-out double by Williams, the bats fell silent the rest of the way. Northridge tallied just four hits on the day and drew only one walk.

A Closer Look at UC Irvine
The UC  Irvine Anteaters enter the weekend third place in the Big West Conference after sweeping back-to-back series at Anteater Ballpark. The Anteaters have won seven of their last eight games but are just 4-10 on the road this season. Following the weekend at Matador Field UC Irvine has one Big West series remaining, three games at UC Davis to close out the regular season.

Christian Ramirez leads the team with a .338 batting average and has played in all but two games this season. He has eight doubles, three triples and 19 RBIs on the year. Jordan Fox has started every game and has a .327 average with 56 hits. He leads the team with 29 RBIs and ties for the lead with five triples. Fox has also collected eight stolen bases in 2012. Taylor Sparks is hitting just .168 this season but leads the team with three home runs.

Starter Andrew Thurman is coming off of three impressive performances, all complete games. He has also thrown a no-hitter this year and leads the staff with a 6-2 record and has the best ERA among regular starters at 2.61. Race Parmenter is the top relief option for the Anteaters and has a 1-1 record with a 2.28 ERA and seven saves.

Conference Chatter
With a finish in the top half of the standings in sight, 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 fifth most doubles (70) and are second in the league with 19 home runs. The 372 hits collected are eighth in the conference standings. The team ranks tied for fourth in the conference with 48 sacrifice bunts as well. The pitching staff ranks tied for third in the Big West with 10 saves on the year and tie for fifth with three complete games.

Junior Brett Balkan has been hit by a pitch 12 times, which rank him tied for third in the conference. Senior Steven Keller checks in tied for seventh with three home runs. Freshman catcher Alexis Mercado ties for 10th in the league as he has caught six runners attempting to steal. Junior Kyle Attl is second in the conference as he has helped turn 29 double plays this season and he is also tied for fifth with four home runs and seventh with eight sac bunts.

Individually, junior Marty Bowen ranks seventh with eight runners caught stealing. Freshman Ryan Raslowsky is almost in the Top 10 with six sacrifices. Sophomore outfielder Miles Williams is second in the league with six home runs. He has also drawn 16 walks and his 26 runs scored put him on the cusp of the Big West standings.

A group of Matador pitchers find themselves in the conference rankings as well. Junior Alex Muren is just outside of the Top 10 in the conference with 71.0 innings pitched and ties for 11th in the league with five wins on the season. Freshmen Louis Cohen ties for fifth with four saves and Cole Hallum ties for 10th with two. Harley Holt has three saves, good for a tie for eighth. Cohen is seventh as he has finished 13 games on the mound for the Matadors and is also tied for third in the league with 22 appearances in 2012. With six wins, Cohen ties for third in the Big West. Another freshman, Jerry Keel, is second in the league among starting pitchers with a 1.97 ERA, which puts him 38th in the nation. All Big West statistics are current as of May 10.

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 71.0 innings, ties for the staff lead with 37 strikeouts and has a 4.94 ERA. He also ties for second on the pitching staff with five victories on the year.

Where There's a Williams, There's a Way
Sophomore Miles Williams currently has a .274 batting average and leads the squad with 26 runs scored and 24 RBIs. In the finale at Sacramento State, Williams blasted a three-run home run off the third story of the parking structure adjacent to John Smith Field. Against #22 UCLA, Williams threw 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 seven multi-RBI games. He also hit a two-run home run at #13 Cal State Fullerton and a three-run shot in a win over CSU Bakersfield on April 10. Williams led the team with a 3-for-6 day against Long Beach State, driving in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth on April 28.

Cal-ifornia Love
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 .299 batting average. Vogelsang, who has seen time in both the outfield and at first and second base, leads the squad with 47 hits this season and has Northridge's only triple. He has one home run and 15 RBIs on the year in 42 games played. Vogelsang had at one point a 12 game hitting streak, the longest this season for CSUN, and also ties for first with the most multiple hit games (13), including three hits on five occasions. In the series at UC Riverside from May 4 to 6, Vogelsang had four hits, three of which were doubles.

Attl Boy!
Junior shortstop Kyle Attl is hitting .217 thus far and had his hit streak stopped at eight games against San Francisco on Mar. 2. In addition to eight sacrifice bunts, which lead the team, Attl ties for second with eight doubles and has 20 RBIs while scoring 22 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 home runs in the series finale win against No. 27 Cal Poly and against CSU Bakersfield on April 24. He is currently second on the team with four homers.

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. He also pitched in relief and picked up a win over CSU Bakersfield on April 24 and threw 7.0 innings in a no-decision against Long Beach State. Keel followed it up with an 8.0 inning, six strikeout game in a win at UC Riverside on May 5. The Matadors have won all five of Keel's starts in Big West play this season. Keel is 5-1 and has a team-best 1.97 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 2012.

Barry Nice
Junior Adam Barry is building on the productive summer season he had last year, as he owns a .283 batting average with eight doubles and 20 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. Barry cracked his first two career home runs in the span of a week in wins over Long Beach State (4/28) and UC Riverside (5/4).

Breathing a Simis of Relief
Junior Tommy Simis is making his way back into the lineup for the Matadors after over a month out of action. Through 22 games this year, Simis is hitting .250 and has recorded a hit in 13 contests, including five multi-hit games. He has also drawn seven walks and been hit by a pitch three times, 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.  Against Indiana, Simis had two multi-hit games and drove in a run while starting at first base for the final two games. In the series against Long Beach State, he had a hit and drove in a pair of runs.

Walking Off
Freshman Ryan Raslowsky and redshirt freshman Chester Pak have played key roles in nearly all of Northridge's walkoff victories this season. On February 25th against Northwestern, Raslowsky singled in the bottom of the 11th to move the winning run into scoring position before Pak singled to win the game. 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 beat No. 27 Cal Poly in the first game of a doubleheader on April 14. In Northridge's most recent walk-off victory, Nathan Ring eventually stole third base and came around to score on an errant throw in the bottom of the 12th to give CSUN the win over Long Beach State.

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