April 30, 2009

Matadors Finish Road Trip at #1-Ranked UC Irvine

April 30, 2009

Matador Baseball Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Tuesday, April 28 • UNLV 13, Northridge 8

Wednesday, April 29 • Northridge 8, UNLV 2

Friday, May 1 • Northridge at #1 UC Irvine • Anteater Field • Irvine, Calif. • 6:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker/Radio

Saturday, May 2 • Northridge at #1 UC Irvine • Anteater Field • Irvine, Calif. • 1:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker/Radio

Sunday, May 3 • Northridge at #1 UC Irvine • Anteater Field • Irvine, Calif. • 1:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker/Radio

ON THE MOUND

Friday • RHP Ryan Juarez (4-4, 5.03) vs. LHP Daniel Bibona (7-1, 2.25)

Saturday • RHP Justen Gorski (1-2, 4.11) vs. RHP Christian Bergman (7-1, 2.50)

Sunday • RHP Billy Ott (1-3, 5.53) vs. TBA

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Having split their most recent two-game series in Las Vegas against the UNLV Rebels, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will conclude their road trip with a three-game weekend series against the #1-ranked team in the nation, the UC Irvine Anteaters.

MATADORS VS. UC IRVINE

During last year's series that took place at Matador Field in Northridge, then #7-ranked UCI dropped the first two games by respective scores of 1-4 and 0-1 before winning the final game of the series by a score of 4-1.

With Northridge holding a 25-22 edge in the overall series between the two teams, right-handed pitchers Ryan Juarez, Justen Gorski, and Billy Ott will look to enlarge their team's advantage at Anteater Ballpark over the weekend.

LHP Daniel Bibona and RHP Christian Bergman will open the series against the Matadors on Friday and Saturday respectively, with Sunday's starter yet to be announced. Bibona leads all Anteater pitchers with a 2.25 ERA and has a Big West-leading 67 strikeouts scattered throughout his 68 innings pitched. Opposing batters have only driven in 17 earned runs against Bibona, who has held his opposition to a .212 average.

Like his teammate Bibona, Bergman also enters the weekend with a 7-1 record, possessing a 2.50 ERA with 42 strikeouts recorded on the season. During Bergman's 68.1 innings pitched, the righty has only walked nine batters and allowed only 19 earned runs.

Leading the way for UCI at the plate is catcher Ronnie Shaeffer and infielder Eric Deragisch. The former is sporting a .406 betting average, with the latter batting .382 on the season as both are two of eight Anteaters who enter this weekend batting .300 or above for Head Coach Mike Gillespie.

After competing against opposition who are prone to steal bases and possess a more aggressive baserunning strategy during the last few weeks, Irvine has employed a more cautious approach as Anteater baserunners have been thrown out nearly half the time this season (36-62). Matador fans should still keep their eyes on Deragisch (4-5), shortstop Ben Orloff (10-15), infielder Casey Stevenson (6-7), and catcher Francis Larson (5-10) as the quartet accounts for nearly 70% percent of the teams stolen bases this season. 

Currently leading the Big West Conference in total saves with 15,  RHP Eric Pettis will serve as the primary closer for the Anteaters; 13 of the team's 15 saves have been earned from the arm of RHP Eric Pettis as he also leads the conference in saves having appeared in 21 contests so far this season.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

For two Matadors, the team's recent road trip to Las Vegas doubled as a homecoming of sorts as right-fielder Ryan Pineda and Bryan Harper returned  to their hometown for two days. Pineda, a sophomore, and Harper, a freshmen are from Las Vegas having graduated from Bonanza High School and Las Vegas High School respectively.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Pineda earned four letters for the Bengals, earned First-Team All-City as a senior and Second-Team as a junior, and during his senior season, he batted .400 with three home runs, 19 doubles, eight triples, 30 RBI, and 15 stolen bases.

Harper graduated with a 4.1 GPA, ran on the cross-country team for two seasons, and competed as a member of Sam Thomas' baseball team as a LHP/OF all four years. During his junior season he received First Team All-Region, First Team All-State, and Northeast Division Player of the Year Honors, and received First Team All-Region and First Team All-State honors during his senior year.

YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST

On April 29 at UNLV, RHP/1B Brian Slover hit his first career home run as a Matador in CSUN's 8-2 victory in Las Vegas. The designated hitter swung at the first pitch thrown his way by Rebel reliever Matt Hutchison and blasted his pitch over an 80-foot light-tower residing on the opposite side of the wall in left field to add another three RBI's to his total this season.

THESE GUYS WERE GAME

Both Jason Dabbs and Tommy Simis turned in their best performances as a Matador on April 21st in CSUN's come-from-behind 11th-inning victory over the Pepperdine Waves. Dabbs finished the day with a 5-for-5 performance as he hit his fourth double of the season, drove in three runs, and scored once in the process. Dabbs would have had an opportunity to tie the Matador single game record for hits, a mark held by Alberto Quintana and Adam Kennedy had the Waves not intentionally walked the shortstop in the bottom of the eleventh. 

In that same game, Simis went 2-for-4, but drove in four RBI's, nearly half of the Matador offense. The second baseman is the second Matador to drive in four runs this season as first baseman Dominic D'Anna has also accomplished the feat on two separate occasions vs. UNLV (4/1) and vs. Cal State Fullerton (4/21) to set the individual game high mark in this category.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS

With the Big West season nearing the mid-way point of the season, a number of Matadors find themselves within the top ten marks amongst their peers, with the team itself ranked in the top-half of the conference in a variety of categories as noted below as of April 30.

Batting Average: Richard Cates, .372 - 7th

Slugging Percentage: Dominic D'Anna, .580 - 5th

Hits: Richard Cates, 67 - T-1st

Doubles: Dominic D'Anna, 13 - T-8th

Triples: Jeff Pruitt, 3 - T-4th

Home Runs: Ryan Pineda, 9 - T-1st; Dominic D'Anna, 7 - T-5th

Walks: Jeff Pruitt, 24 - 4th

Hit-By-Pitch: John Parham, 10 - T-5th

Stolen Bases: Jeff Pruitt, 23 - 1st

Saves: Brian Slover, 5 - 4th

Appearances: Brian Slover, 20 - T-7th

Games Finished: Brian Slover, 17 - 2nd

Runners Picked Off: Ryan "China" McCarney, 9 - 1st; Billy Ott, 4 - T-2nd; John Parham, 3 - T-4th

GOOD FROM START TO FINISH

In the Matador's game on April 17th at Long Beach State, RHP Ryan Juarez picked up CSUN's first complete game of the season with this 8.0 inning performance against the 49ers. In that game, Juarez only allowed six hits and zero earned runs, picking up the team's first complete game effort since Edwin Quirarte's effort at UC Santa Barbara on April 30, 2006. Nine days later, RHP Billy Ott became the first pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game when he faced the UC Riverside Highlanders at Matador Field on April 26. 

NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON'T

On April 18th at Long Beach State, Matador centerfielder Jeff Pruitt stole two bases, bring his overall total on the season to a Big West Conference league-leading 23. That game also marked the seventh occasion of the season where Pruitt stole multiple bases in one game. Even more remarkable about his total, Pruitt has only been caught stealing on two occasions which took place on March 1st at home against the Texas Tech Red Raiders and at Long Beach State on April 19th. The Matador single-season record for most stolen bases in a season is held by Bob Slater when he stole 31 bases during the 1976 season. 

DON'T BE LATE

The Cal State Northridge Matadors have been able to shrink a nine inning game into a four frame affair as they are 12-3 on the season whenever they possess the lead after four innings, and hold a 12-4 record when leading after the third.

IN CASE YOU CANNOT MAKE IT ON TIME

Whenever the Matadors possess the lead, after three innings of play, opposing teams have had little success digging themselves out the their own deficit as Northridge has created the following records this season when leading after...

four innings: 12-3

five innings: 12-4

six innings: 12-1

seven innings: 12-1

eight innings: 14-0

THE YIN AND YANG OF A BALLGAME

In their game on 4/21 at home against Pepperdine, the Cal State Northridge Matadors came-from-behind to defeat the Waves in the 11th inning by a score of 9-8. Even more remarkable about the Matador's performance was the fact that they committed eight errors, a new school record in the process besting the previous mark of six that took place on six different occasions, most recently at UC Irvine on March 7, 2007.

HOT BATS = HAPPY TEAM

On sixteen occasions this season, the Cal State Northridge Matadors have out-hit their opponents, winning thirteen times for a .875 winning percentage. 

GOTCHA!

With 44 games in the books, the Matadors have picked-off 25 runners this season, the highest number of pickoffs thrown this decade. Currently leading the team with nine pickoffs, RHP Ryan "China" McCarney has caught more runners from the mound than any other Matador pitcher this decade, and has more pickoffs in his first eight appearances than the team leaders during the last two years combined. 

Season - Total - Leader 

2009 - 25 - Ryan McCarney, 9

2008 - 7 - Phillip Hann, 2

2007 - 10 - Joe Rocchio, 4

2006 -16 - Steve Lemmon, 3

2005 - 11 - Jimmy Brett, 3

2004 - 17 -  Jimmy Brett, 2

2003 - 10 -  Kyle Jean, 3

2002 - 10 -  Andy Davidson, 5

2001 - 16 -  Craig Mosher, 5

2000 - 8 - Andy Davidson, 3