Red-Hot Matadors Visit Loyola Marymount for Midweek Test
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors will wrap up their current eight-game road trip this week when the team visits the Loyola Marymount University Lions on Tuesday afternoon at Page Stadium in Los Angeles. LMU took the first game in the season series with an extra-inning victory at Matador Field on April 2. The game is a break from Big West Conference play for the Matadors, who are currently in second place in the league and will play the majority of remaining conference games at home. Northridge owns a 31-22 advantage on the road against the Lions and has the opportunity to even the season series with a win on Tuesday. Live stats coverage will be available for the game in addition to a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com.
GAME #40: CSUN Matadors (22-17, 8-4 BWC) at LMU Lions (20-19, 9-6 WCC)
Tuesday, April 23 - 3:00 p.m.
Page Stadium (1,000) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available on Baseball Schedule Page
Audio: Link Available on Baseball Schedule Page
In-game Twitter Updates: @CSUNBaseball
Follow Your Matadors Online
All home games this season will include live stats coverage and selected contests will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road games, related links to the game, including for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the game on the baseball schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge Athletics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) and the baseball-specific feed (@CSUNBaseball) for updates of games in progress and news and notes throughout the week.
The Matadors swept a three-game Big West series on the road at Hawai'i last weekend to move to 8-4 in league play. After a tough series offensively the previous week at UC Irvine, the Northridge bats came alive in Honolulu as the team recorded double-digit hits in each of the three wins. On Friday night Jerry Keel pitched a complete game for CSUN, striking out five while allowing just an unearned run on five hits. He was picked up by the bat of Nicolas Osuna, who drove in two runs in the game for the first time in his career. Alexis Mercado went 3-for-5 with a double and DH Michael Najera added two hits of his own in the win.
On Saturday, seven different Matadors recorded a hit led by both Joshua Goossen-Brown and Chester Pak with three. Goossen-Brown drove in three runs as well and was joined by Mercado and Anthony Lombardo, who had two each. Calvin Copping earned the win for Northridge after going 5.2 innings on the mound and DJ Milam pitched the final 1.1 innings in relief to earn his second save of the year as CSUN won 9-4.
With a 10-5 win on Sunday at Hawai'i, the Matadors broke a pair of notable streaks as CSUN earned its first road sweep in conference play since 2004 while the Rainbows were swept at home by a conference opponent for the first time since 2005. The game was tightly contested until the late stages with the teams trading runs through the first four innings to stay level at 2-2. After the Matadors opened a 5-2 lead in the fifth, Hawai'i answered and trimmed the margin to 5-4 going to the top of the eighth.
That's when William Colantono hit a deep ball to left that glanced off the fielder's glove and was ruled a two-run error to give CSUN a 7-4 advantage before Goossen-Brown blasted a three-run homer, his first of the year, over the wall in left fieled in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach. Brandon Warner earned the win in a relief appearance for the Matadors.
A Closer Look at Loyola Marymount
The Loyola Marmount Lions are continuing their winning ways and currently have a 20-19 record with a mark of 9-6 in West Coast Conference play. Since defeating CSUN at Matador Field on April 2, LMU took two out of three from then-No. 23 San Diego, one of three at then-No. 17 UCLA and two of three on the road at San Francisco. The Lions also have a series win over then-No. 21 Gonzaga at home and a midweek win on the road at current No. 3 Cal State Fullerton.
Although the team is still without a home run this year, the Lions have collected 13 triples. Matt Lowenstein has five of those and is hitting .281 on the year. Tommy Cheek leads the team with a .330 average and has 16 RBIs while Colton Plaia is the team leader with 12 doubles in addition to his 20 RBIs, which rank second. As a team, LMU has a batting average of .267 and is slugging .333.
Colin Welmon is the ace of the LMU pitching staff but is a weekend starter that is unlikely to see action in Tuesday's meeting. Welmon is 5-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 67.0 innings. Matt Florer is second on the staff with a 2.03 ERA and is 1-1 with two starts and could be a likely candidate to either start on Tuesday or come in for relief work out of the bullpen. Patrick McGrath started the first game between these two teams this season and is currently 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 52.0 innings.
Matadors in the Big West Top Ten
With four conference series come and gone, the Cal State Northridge Matadors rank among the statistical leaders in the Big West Conference's 10th standings release of the year. Northridge currently is sixth in team batting average (.270) and seventh in slugging percentage (.357). The Matadors are now fourth in the conference with 202 runs scored and are fourth with 351 hits recorded. Northridge has the fifth-best on base percentage (.353) and is fourth with 182 runs batted in. The Matadors are fourth in the league with 60 doubles and are third with 14 home runs. CSUN is the league leader with 45 sacrifice bunts and ranks fourth with 44 stolen bases.
Defensively, Cal State Northridge's pitching staff is settling in to a position in the middle of multiple categories. Northridge has the fourth-best earned run average (3.95) and is fifth in strikeouts with 236. The pitching staff leads the league with 87 strikeouts looking and is fourth with 22 wins. CSUN is sixth in the Big West with four runners picked off on the year. The Matadors rank seventh for hits allowed at 362 and are tied for fourth with 176 runs allowed this season.
Individually, Miles Williams ties for second with seven home runs. Nathan Ring is currently tied for second in the Big West with 22 walks drawn and is tied for sixth with eight steals while Chester Pak is fifth in that category with 10 stolen bases. Kyle Attl ties for third for sacrifice bunts with seven. Joshua Goossen-Brown is tied for first in the league with a 1.000 fielding percentage. He has yet to make an error in 284 chances in the field and is third offensively with 33 runs batted in. Alexis Mercado is currently tied for third in the conference with 11 doubles on the year.
Pitcher Jerry Keel ranks second and John Salas ties for fifth in the conference having struck out 19 and 16 batters looking so far this year, respectively. Salas ties for eighth in the Big West with 16 appearances on the season. Keel is tied for ninth in the league wth a 50 strikeouts overall and ranks fifth with a 2.30 ERA. Goossen-Brown checks in at fifthh in the Big West with six saves and is currently seventh with 10 games finished on the mound. All stats are current as of April 22 and include all games through April 21.