Matadors Hit the Road Bound for Southern Miss

March 11, 2008

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This Week in Northridge Baseball
Fri., Mar 14 • Liberty • Hattiesburg, Miss. • The Pete • 2:30 p.m.CST
Jr. RHP Jimmy Jolicoeur (CSUN) vs. Jr. RHP Clarence Nicely (Liberty)

Fri., Mar 14 • Southern Miss • Hattiesburg, Miss. • The Pete• 3:30 p.m. CST
Sr. RHP Phil Hann (CSUN) vs. Sr. RHP Barry Bowden (So. Miss)

Sat., Mar 15 • Liberty • Hattiesburg, Miss. • The Pete • 6:30 p.m. CST
So. RHP Davin Tate vs. Sr. LHP Ryan Page (Liberty)

Sun., Mar 16 • Southern Miss • Hattiesburg, Miss. • The Pete • 11 a.m. CST
Fr. RHP Drew Muren vs. Jr. RHP Josh Billeaud (So. Miss)

Matadors go 3-3 After Six Games in Six Days

As with many programs in college baseball in 2008, the Matadors were forced to go to some extreme lengths to fit all 56 games into the new, shortened schedule. The result, for Northridge at least, was stretches like this past week, when the Matadors hosted six games in as many days.

On Tuesday, Northridge finished off a four-game sweep of La Salle with a 10-6 win. Tuesday brought UC Santa Barbara to town, and the Gauchos greeted Northridge with a 9-3 loss. St. John's arrived Friday ranked #28 nationally, and Northridge was unfazed. The Matadors took game one and eventually settled for a 2-2 split of the series, which finished Sunday with a 11-6 loss.

Hannick Goes Deep Twice

Freshman catcher Chris Hannick went yard twice this weekend... in one game. Hannick is the only current Matador to have two dingers in one game on his resume and is the first Northridge player to accomplish the feat since 2005, when it occurred five times.

Hopefully, the two dingers in just the seventh game of the season are a harbinger of things to come: in 2005, Michael Paulk hit two gopher balls in his ninth appearance of the season and did it three more times that year.

Statistically Speaking

Head coach Steve Rousey has managed to get several characters involved in the Matadors' torrid start. The squad is at the top of the Big West charts in several offensive categories after more than two weeks of non-conference competition.

Northridge leads the conference in team batting average (.347), runs (102), doubles (32), and walks (55). Individually, Richard Cates is second in the conference with a .476 bating average and leads the Big West with 19 RBI and 15 runs scored. His three triples are tied for tops in the conference, and he is one of just six players in the league with at least 20 hits. His two home runs knot him with eleven others in third in that category, and his 37 total bases are second.

Pitching Points

Edwin Quirarte is 1-0 with two saves since suffering a loss in his first appearance of the year and is now hovering at a team-best 1.00 ERA. Eric Bilings has made the most of his four appearances, earning a win and chalking up a 1.69 ERA and .200 batting average-against. Phil Hann has been the premier Northirdge starter, posting a 1.86 ERA to go with a team-high 17 strikeouts.

The Utility Belt

Justin DeMarco and Richard Cates have each started in three different position in the field in 2008 for the Matadors. Cates has started the two corner infield positions and has also made several starts in left field, and DeMarco has started all the way around the horn, with the exception of first base.

John Parham is the only Northridge player besides to Cates to have made starts in the infield and outfield (catcher, right field).

Depth Charges

Despite sporting the largest freshman classes in the country, the Matadors have one of the deepest rosters in recent program history.

Northridge has six players above the .400 mark in batting average, easily tops in the conference. additionally, every player that Northridge has sent to the plate has gotten a hit, including Matt Carvutto and Edwin Quirarte, each of whom tabulated a hit in their first at bats of the season and are currently at 1-for-2.

Defensive Duties

TS Reed has proved to be a top defensive player for the Matadors in his first collegiate season. The infielder, who has appeared at shortstop and at second base, has yet to commit an error. Reed is the only full-time infielder that has yet to have a defensive miscue.

Scouting the...

Flames: Liberty travels to Southern Miss on Friday to meet both CSUN and the host Golden Eagles over the weekend. The Flames enter with some serious momentum, having swept Army over the weekend by scores of 15-7, 13-7, and 11-5.

Doug Bream leads the Flames, batting .463 with a team-leading 15 RBI. Bream has started 11 of his team's 12 games, and six others have started all 12. None of those seven have posted a batting average below the respectable .283 mark that Garret Young currently resides at.

From the mound, the Flames are expected to throw Clarence Nicely and Ryan Page vs. the Matadors. Nicely is a junior right-handed pitcher that so far is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA. He has struck out 12 batters in 18.1 innings. Page will thrown on Saturday and is a senior lefty. He is 0-1 with a 6.32 ERA.

Golden Eagles: Converse to Liberty, Southern Miss enters the weekend on a bit of a slide. The Golden Eagles have dropped their last five and is returning from a trip to Southern California, where they dropped three straight to Cal State Fullerton.

Keith Winstead and Brian Dozier have led the Eagles, batting .353 and .319, respectively. Dozier has started all 12 games for Souther Miss and leads the team with 15 hits. Batting .324, Drew Carson leads the team with three home runs and a .647 slugging percentage.

The Matadors are expecting to see right-handers Barry Bowden and Josh Billeaud throw for the Golden Eagles. Bowden is 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 18 K's in 19.0 innings, and Billeaud is 0-1 with a 5.29 ERA in three starts. He has struck out nine and has surrendered a team high ten earned runs.