Matador Baseball Faces Texas Tech for the First Time at Matador Field

Feb. 26, 2009

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

This Week’s Games

Friday, Feb. 27 • Northridge vs. Texas Tech • Matador Field • 2:00 p.m. • Gametracker/Radio 

Saturday, Feb. 28 • Northridge vs. Texas Tech • Matador Field • 1:00 p.m. • Gametracker

Sunday, March 1 • Northridge vs. Texas Tech • Matador Field • 12:00 p.m. • Gametracker/Radio

On The Mound 

Friday •  RHP Ryan McCarney (0-0, 2.57)  vs. RHP Chad Bettis (1-0, 2.70)

Saturday •  RHP Ryan Juarez (1-0, 3.00)  vs. RHP Miles Morgan (1-0, 2.70)

Sunday •  LHP Bryan Harper (0-0, 1.69)  vs. RHP AJ Ramos (0.00, 1-0)

After their first weekend series of the 2009 season, the Cal State Northridge (1-3) pitching staff compiled the second-best ERA in the Big West Conference at 3.04.

With four games under their belt, CSUN has seven different position players driving in the 21 total runs scored so far this season.

All nine starters have collected their first hits of the season, five of the nine have belted their first home run of the season, and the men in read have stolen six bases in seven attempts.

As the team continues their preparations for Texas Tech (6-0) in this weekend's series, it looks like everything is starting to click for the Matadors. Unfortunately the only problem that has crossed the Matador's path has been the ninth inning.

In all three of their losses CSUN has given up the winning run late in the game in either the ninth, or in last Sunday's case, the tenth inning with two of those game-winning runs earned via walk-off home run.

Three pitches have been the difference in the Matador's season so far, three pitches that have shaped what could have been a undefeated start to the season, to the record the team currently possesses. 

While some fans may start to worry, this year's team has already begun to exhibit the character and maturity gained from last year's growing pains on the diamond, while staying positive off the field.

"This team is definitely confident in their abilities," explained third baseman Ryan Pineda. "How often is one team, any team going to give up back-to-back walk-off home runs? We can compete with some of the best teams in the country, now all we have to do is go out there and prove it to everyone else."

What better time to start turning the critics into believers that this weekend as the Texas Tech Red Raiders, current leaders atop the Big 12 standings, visit Matador Field for the inaugural time in their program's history.

Led by senior infielder Chris Richburg (.450 avg., 3 HR, 10 RBI’s), junior transfer Kellen Monreal (.412 avg.) and freshman infielder Scott LeJeune (.400 avg., 6 RBI’s), the Red Raiders take to the road for the first time in their season, after going 5-1 in their first home-stand of the 2009 campaign.

Keep an eye on outfielder Michael Reed and infielder Willie Rueda; both players pose a serious threat once on base as the former has stolen three bases in just as many attempts, with the latter having already stolen five bases in six attempts. 

With two saves to his credit, senior left-hander Cory Large will look to add to his totals as the primary closer for head coach Dan Spencer, with senior right-hander AJ Ramos also looking to showcase his skills from the bullpen.

This is the third time that Cal State Northridge and Texas Tech have faced one another as CSUN traveled to Lubbock, Texas in 2007 and were defeated in two of the three games. Final scores of the series were 8-2, 11-6, and 5-0, with the Matadors taking the second game of the series.

In 2001 then-head coach Mike Batesole made the trip to Lubbock, marking the inaugural series between the two programs. In that series, Northridge took the first game of the series 9-3, but dropped the last two by a respective score of 3-2 and 9-2. 

In conjunction with the Matador Athletics Hall of Fame celebration taking place throughout the weekend, the 1970 Baseball National Championship team will be honored in a pregame ceremony taking place before the start of Saturday's game.

Former Matador Sports Information Director Joe Butita will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event as CSUN welcomes back then-Head Coach Bob Hiegert and his championship squad. It will be the first time in the school's history that a team will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The six-game homestand will come to an end next Tuesday and Wednesday as the Cal State Northridge Matadors will face another team making their debut appearance at Matador Field, the Evansville Purple Aces. Both games are scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m.