Matadors Close Out Eight-Game Homestand This Weekend Against Columbia

March 18, 2009

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Thursday, March 19 • Northridge vs. Columbia • Matador Field • 3:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker/Radio

Friday, March 20 • Northridge vs. Columbia • Matador Field • 3:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker

Saturday, March 21 • Northridge vs. Columbia • Matador Field • 1:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker 

Sunday, March 22 • Northridge vs. Columbia • Matador Field • 1:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker

 

ON THE MOUND

Thursday • RHP Billy Ott (0-1. 5.82)  vs. TBD

Friday • TBD  vs. TBD

Saturday • TBD  vs. TBD

Sunday • TBD  vs. TBD

 

With their season-high eight-game homestand drawing to a close this weekend, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-11) will look to end things on a positive note against the Columbia Lions (1-12) during a four-game series that begins Thursday afternoon at Matador Field.

First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.; RHP Billy Ott will start the game for Northridge, with the Lions finalizing their starting rotation for the weekend once their game tonight against San Diego concludes.

After nearly coming-from-behind against BYU last Tuesday in their 6-5 defeat, the Matadors used their off day to begin preparations for a Lions squad that will conclude their ten-game road trip through Southern California in Northridge.

Already swept by UC Riverside last week, and in danger of being swept by San Diego if they do not win in their series finale tonight against the Toreros, the Matadors will look finish their upcoming series in a similar fashion once the Lions head to the Valley.

The match-up between the Matadors and the Lions will be the first time in each respective school's history that they have faced one another on the diamond.

 

Columbia is led by catcher Dean Forthun (.316) and second baseman/outfielder Jon Eisen (.313). The Lions have stolen 15 bases in nineteen attempts; fans should expect them to continue to be aggressive on the base-paths with Nick Cox (5-5) and Eisen (4-7) leading the way.

RHP Roger Aquino has earned the lone victory of their season, with RHP Pat Lowry possessing the lowest ERA on staff with his 2.84 mark.

This is the second Columbia team to make the trip to Northridge during the 2008-09 academic year as the Women's Basketball team were defeated by CSUN 74-64 in late December, with the Women's Tennis team competing against CSUN this Friday at 2:00 p.m. at the Matador Tennis Complex.

 

When compared to their Big West Conference counterparts, the Cal State Northridge Matadors are becoming one of the more disciplined teams at the plate as they rank third in the conference in both walks with 64 and number of batters hit-by-a-pitch with 23.

The Matador pitching staff has added a unique weapon to their arsenal as they lead the conference in the numbers of runners picked off with nine, more that twice as many pickoffs as the next two teams combined while their four saves ties them with UC Riverside and UC Irvine for the best mark in that category. 

From an individual perspective, third baseman Ryan Pineda is amongst the top-ten in a number of categories including batting average (6th/.406), slugging perrcentage (5th/.734), on-base percentage (8th/.479), hits (4th/26), runs batted in (T-6th/18), doubles (T-4th/6), home runs (T-4/5), and total bases (1st/47). 

Teammate Jeff Pruitt is tied for third with two triples, has the sixth-highest amount of walks drawn at ten, and is tied for the second-highest number of bases stolen with seven. 

Shortstop TS Reed makes the list as his four sacrifice bunts ranks him tied for fourth overall within the conference. 

Thursday's starting pitcher Billy Ott and teammate Brian Slover are tied for fifth within the Big West with two saves apiece, with Ryan "China" McCarney leading the conference with four runners picked off so far this season.