Matadors Welcome Pacific For Final Time in Big West Play
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors, coming off of a three-game sweep at Hawai'i last weekend, will look to continue their success against Big West opponents this week when they host the University of the Pacific Tigers at Matador Field. Northridge is currently second place in the Big West and looking to create separation in the standings as the conference slate reaches its halfway point. The Tigers head to CSUN for the final time as members of the Big West but have taken five of the last six from the Matadors. All games this weekend will feature an online-only audio broadcast and live stats available on GoMatadors.com. Fans are encouraged to follow the series by accessing the broadcast and stats using the CSUN Front Row app for free on Apple and Android devices.
GAMES #41-43: CSUN Matadors (22-18, 8-4) vs. Pacific Tigers (10-25, 3-9)
Friday, April 26 - 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 28 - 1 p.m.
Friday - Jerry Keel (5-1, 2.30 ERA) vs. John Haberman (1-4, 6.10 ERA)
Saturday - Calvin Copping (4-3, 3.44 ERA) vs. Jake Jenkins (0-5, 7.33 ERA)
Sunday - TBA
Matador Field (1,000) - Northridge, 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 Pacific
The Pacific Tigers travel to Northridge this weekend in the final Big West Conference series between the two sides. After this season, Pacific will move to the West Coast Conference. Currently, the Tigers have a record of 10-25 and are 3-9 in Big West play. In the last six meetings against CSUN, Pacific is 5-1.
Despite the record, the Tigers feature two everyday starters that are hitting over .300 this year. Through 35 games, Tyler Sullivan has a .323 average with a team-high 27 runs scored, eight doubles and 12 RBIs. Sullivan also has a .444 slugging percentage and seven stolen bases to his credit. Erik Lockwood is hitting .305 and leads the team with 11 doubles. Jason Taasaas, Brett Sullivan and Taylor Murphy have each belted two home runs this season.
Last weekend against UC Irvine, the Tigers used the trio of Jake Jenkins, Kyle Crawford and John Haberman on the mound in starting roles. Michael Benson, who has the lowest ERA among starters at 4.30, has not pitched since allowing six runs in 2.1 innings at UC Riverside on April 13. Jenkins is currently 0-5 with a 7.33 ERA in nine appearances while Crawford is 1-2 with a 4.79 ERA and has made four starts. Haberman is 1-4 with a 6.10 ERA and a team-high 25 strikeouts in 41.1 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 tied for sixth in team batting average (.265) and eighth in slugging percentage (.350). The Matadors are now fourth in the conference with 202 runs scored and are fifth with 351 hits recorded. Northridge has the sixth-best on base percentage (.350) and is sixth with 182 runs batted in. The Matadors are fifth in the league with 60 doubles and are tied for fourth with 14 home runs. CSUN is second 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 fifth-best earned run average (3.96) and is fifth in strikeouts with 239. The pitching staff leads the league with 89 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 372 and are fifth with 181 runs allowed this season.
Individually, Miles Williams ties for second with seven home runs. Nathan Ring is currently second in the Big West with 23 walks drawn and is tied for seventh with eight steals while Chester Pak is fifth in that category with 10 stolen bases. Kyle Attl ties for fourth 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 291 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 is just outside the Top 10 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 25 and include all games through April 24.