April 6, 2009

Matadors Look to Rebound From Tough Weekend Series Against the Trojans

April 6, 2009

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Fresh from a three-game road trip in San Luis Obispo that saw the Cal State Northridge (13-17, 2-4 BWC) drop two games in extra innings by one run each, the Matadors will look to bounce back against the USC Trojans (13-14, 4-5 Pac-10) Tuesday evening.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will take place at USC's Dedeaux Field.

Baseball fans who are unable to attend the game at can follow all the action online on GameTracker or listen to Tamer Tartir's broadcast at www.GoMatadors.com.

In the first of three meetings this season between the Trojans and Matadors, Tuesday's contest will be the only game held at USC as the Matadors will host back-to-back games on May 9th and 10th at Matador Field to complete the season series.

In their previous meeting that also took place at USC, the Trojans defeated the Matadors by a score of 8-2 to take a 50-20-1 lead in the overall series.

With a three-game series against top-ranked Cal State Fullerton later on the week looming, the Matadors will look to snap their three-game losing streak, and build momentum for their next in-conference set of games.

Fresh from their weekend series against the Arizona Wildcats, a series that saw the Trojans drop the first game 7-6, but win the last two games of the series by respective scores of 15-14 and 7-3, the Trojans will look to extend their winning streak against the Matadors before they host the Oregon Ducks in a three-game series of their own.

As was the case against Cal Poly when the Matadors scored first in each of the three games, the Matadors should look to score early as the Trojans possess a 4-10 record in games where their opposition scores first. Having scored 31 of their 169 runs this season in the first inning, and almost forty percent of their total offense this season within the first few frames, the Matadors will have an opportunity to put USC on their heels early in the game if they continue to produce as they have throughout the first thirty games of the season.

Fans in attendance should find their seats by the time the game begins, because both teams have a penchant for scoring early, and taking the necessary steps to preserve leads built in the early innings. In the ten games where the Matadors have held the lead after four innings, CSUN possess a 9-1 record in comparison to their opponents who have gone 10-1 in the 11 games where they have possessed the lead after four innings of play.

Fans of 'Ridge baseball should keep their eyes on a few players as Ryan Pineda, Richard Cates, and Todd Eskelin each carry with them hitting streaks of 4, 6, and 8 respectively.

Eskelin has already gone above and beyond compared to his performance last season; in 2008 the sophomore hit .143, collected four hits, and drove in two runs in the 23 games he participated in.

In the sixteen games he has played in so far this season, Eskelin leads the team with a .410 batting average, quadrupled his output of last season with 16 hits, and has already hit three doubles, two triples, and two home runs.

Also catching the eyes of opponents has been Jeff Pruitt thanks to his four stolen bases collected in his last three games; with the Trojans having only thrown out 65% of base runners attempting to steal this season, Matador fans should look for Pruitt to add to his collection of 17 stolen bases out of 18 attempts which translates to a success rate of 94.4%.

Leading the way for the Trojans is shortstop Grant Green as his .375 batting average and nine stolen bases are currently team-high marks in each category. Robert Stock and his 42 RBI's are an indication of how productive the catcher/pitcher has been all season long, with Ricky Oropesa providing the long-ball threat for USC with his four home runs on the season.