Matadors Travel to No. 27 Cal Poly for Crucial Big West Series
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors are currently in second place in the Big West Conference with six games remaining and face another difficult test as the team travels to No. 27 Cal Poly this weekend. The Mustangs sit five games back of first but are still in striking distance as both teams look to improve their standing and prepare for potential at-large selections to the NCAA Tournament. A series win for either team will go a long way toward boosting its RPI, an important factor in the selection process. However, CSUN has not won a game at Cal Poly since 2007 and has not taken a series there since 1996 when the team was in the Western Athletic Conference. All three games at Cal Poly this weekend can be heard live online at GoMatadors.com and will also be video streamed for free on BigWest.TV. Fans are also encouraged to follow live stats coverage of each game the rest of the season as the race for the Big West crown nears its conclusion.
GAMES #52-54: CSUN Matadors (31-20, 15-6) at #27 Cal Poly Mustangs (34-16, 12-9)
Friday, May 17 - 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 - 1 p.m.
Friday - LHP Jerry Keel (7-1, 1.85 ERA) at RHP Joey Wagman (10-3, 3.12 ERA)
Saturday - RHP Calvin Copping (5-4, 3.21 ERA) at LHP Matt Imhof (5-3, 2.46 ERA)
Sunday - LHP John Salas (4-5, 3.03 ERA) at TBA
Baggett Stadium (1,734) - San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available on Baseball Schedule Page
Audio: Link Available on Baseball Schedule Page
Video: Free on BigWest.TV
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.
Two weeks remain in the Big West Conference season and the Matadors are currently two games behind Cal State Fullerton with six games left on the schedule. Two important series remain for both clubs, as CSUN faces fourth-place Cal Poly this week and the Titans host UC Irvine. Next weekend, the two teams will match up at Matador Field in what could potentially be a winner-take-all series for the Conference Championship. The Matadors would need to go into that final series trailing by no more than three games to still be in the race for the title. If CSUN trails by two or three, the Matadors would need a sweep. If the team is back just one game, then the winner of the series is the champion. The Matadors could also play their way into an at-large berth but would likely need to win at least four of the final six gamees on the schedule to get into consideration. Cal State Northridge is looking for its first conference title and postseason appearance since 2002 when the team won the Big West.
A Closer Look at No. 27 Cal Poly
The No. 27 Cal Poly Mustangs enter this crucial weekend series currently tied for fourth in the Big West Conference with a 12-9 record. The Mustangs are 34-16 overall, including 20-6 at Baggett Stadium, and defeated visiting CSU Bakersfield on Tuesday night at home.
Denver Chavez leads the Mustangs' offensive and has started every game this year for Cal Poly, one of three players to have done so. He is hitting .353 and leads the way with 46 runs and 14 stolen bases while ranking second on the team with 13 doubles. Nick Torres is the team leader with 39 runs batted in and 15 doubles while Brian Mundell has 37 RBIs to his credit and a team-high nine home runs in 46 games. As a team, the Mustangs are hitting .275 and have outscored their opponents by 44 runs (248-204).
On the pitching side, the Mustangs will likely have Joey Wagman and Matt Imhof in starting roles barring unforeseen changes. Wagman is Friday night's probable starter and is 10-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 13 starts this season. In 89.1 innings, he has compiled 87 strikeouts but has also allowed 83 hits. Imhoff will start on Saturday afternoon and brings in a 5-3 record with a 2.46 ERA in 13 previous starts. He has 74 strikeouts in 84.0 innings but has hit a team-high 13 batters this year. No starter has been named for Sunday's finale, but Bryan Granger has made 13 starts this season for the Mustangs and is 5-4 with a 5.37 ERA. The only other pitchers on staff with a start are Casey Bloomquist (5-1, 4.58 ERA) and Kyle Brueggemann (1-0, 6.35 ERA). Following the series with CSUN, Cal Poly will finish the conference season at Pacific next weekend.
Matadors in the Big West Top Ten
With the final two conference series left to play, the Cal State Northridge Matadors rank among the statistical leaders in the Big West Conference's 13th standings release of the year. Northridge currently is seventh in team batting average (.263) and eighth in slugging percentage (.351). The Matadors are now second in the conference with 268 runs scored and are fifth with 445 hits recorded. Northridge has the sixth-best on base percentage (.352) and is third with 238 runs batted in. The Matadors are fifth in the league with 80 doubles and are fourth with 19 home runs. CSUN is first in the league with 62 sacrifice bunts and ranks third with 59 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 (3.71) and is fifth in strikeouts with 293. The pitching staff is first in the league with 104 strikeouts looking and is third with 31 wins. CSUN is sixth in the Big West with five runners picked off on the year. The Matadors rank seventh for hits allowed at 464 and are fifth with 221 runs allowed this season.
Individually, Miles Williams ties for third in the conference with seven home runs. Nathan Ring is currently tied for first in the Big West with 36 walks drawn and is tied for third with 13 steals as Chester Pak checks in at seventh with 12 stolen bases. Kyle Attl ties for second for sacrifice bunts with 10. Joshua Goossen-Brown is tied for first in the league with a 1.000 fielding percentage. He has yet to make an error in 395 chances in the field and is also the league leader with 44 runs batted in. Alexis Mercado is currently tied for fourth in the conference with 14 doubles on the year.
Pitcher Jerry Keel ranks second and John Salas ties for eighth in the conference having struck out 23 and 19 batters looking so far this year, respectively. Keel is eighth in the league wth 65 strikeouts overall and ranks third with a 1.85 ERA. Oscar Sandoval ties for 10th with 21 appearances this year. Goossen-Brown currently ties for third in the Big West with nine saves and is sixth with 14 games finished on the mound. All stats are current as of May 13 and include all games through May 12.