May 25, 2011

Matadors Wrap Up 2011 With Three-Game Home Set Against Fullerton

May 25, 2011

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Matadors will end the 2011 season with a three-game home series against No. 9 Cal State Fullerton. Northridge has a chance to spoil the Big West title bid of the Titans, who need two wins to close out another conference championship. The series begins on Friday, May 27 at 3 p.m. at Matador Field and will continue on Saturday and Sunday with games at 1 p.m. The regular-season finale on Sunday is Senior Day at the ballpark and also Fan Appreciation Day. Ridge Carpenter, TS Reed, Paul Tremlin, Ryan Juarez, Justin DeMarco and Shawn Wilyman will be honored during a pregame ceremony. All three games are available on GameTracker.

Conference Chatter

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Matadors are solidifying their spot in the conference statistics. The team is currently sixth in the Big West with a .263 batting average and a .357 slugging percentage. The Matadors are now fifth the Big West in hits (452) and sixth in doubles (79), fourth in runs scored (243) and runs batted in (218), and tied for fourth in triples (10). When it comes to the long ball, no other team has hit more homeruns as Northridge is tied for the league lead with 21.

The Matadors are displaying excellent plate discipline as they are fourth in walks drawn (166) and fifth in times hit by pitch (55) and sacrifice flies (20). Defensively, Northridge ranks seventh in the league in strikeouts recorded (309). The Matadors' pitching staff has hit the fifth-fewest batters in the league (39), is fifth in the conference in saves converted (11), and is tied for fourth in successful pick-offs (9). All statistics are accurate as of May 23.

Making History

With the Matadors' 10-5 victory over the Sacramento State Hornets on March 19, Cal State Northridge won its 1,500th game on the baseball diamond. The program began play in 1959 as San Fernando Valley State College and started its inaugural season 0-7 before winning for the first time in school history against UC Riverside 7-5 at Matador Field. Now in its 53rd season, Cal State Northridge baseball has won 12 conference titles, the first in 1965 (California Collegiate Athletic Association) and the most recent in 2002 (Big West Conference), and two NCAA Division II National Championships (1970 and 1984).

A Closer Look at Cal State Fullerton

The Cal State Fullerton Titans come to Matador Field for a three-game series with Cal State Northridge beginning on Friday. The series will be the final regular season games of 2011 for the Matadors. The Titans, currently ranked as high as No. 9, have taken the last five games against CSUN and sit two games ahead of UC Irvine in the Big West entering the final weekend.

The Titans hold a mark of 16-10 away from Goodwin Field this season and won two games at Northridge in 2009. Fullerton is led offensively by Carlos Lopez and Michael Lorenzen, who are each hitting .350 entering Friday's opener. In fact, every Titan player with over 100 at-bats this year with the exception of one has a batting average over .300. Both Lopez and Lorenzen have notched three triples and two home runs on the season. Lopez has racked up 48 hits and 30 RBI with seven doubles, and has only been set down on strikes nine times in 137 at-bats.

The Matadors will face Noe Ramirez, Tyler Pill and Colin O'Connell on the mound for Cal State Fullerton this weekend. Both Ramirez (4/11) and O'Connell (4/18) were named at least Co-Pitcher of the Week in the Big West this year. Ramirez comes in with an 8-2 record in 11 starts, 84 strikeouts and a 1.76 ERA. Pill sits just behind with a 2.26 ERA, but has 93 strikeouts and a 5-1 record in 83.2 innings. O'Connell has gathered seven wins in 12 starts, a 2.42 ERA in 70.2 innings has 49 strikeouts to six walks.

Cal State Fullerton defeated San Diego 6-4 on Tuesday night with Pill, as the designated hitter, collecting two RBI.

Results from Last Week

The Matadors finished off a defensive battle with the Long Beach State Dirtbags last weekend at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif., by going 1-2. In the opener on Friday night, Vincent Roberts went wire-to-wire, throwing a complete game four-hit shutout to give Northridge its first road conference victory of the season, 2-0. Roberts struck out three and walked one, needing just 95 pitchers to finish off Long Beach. Roberts' complete game was the first for Northridge since Paul Tremlin's on May 1, 2010 against UC Davis and the first shutout since Edwin Quirarte's at UC Santa Barbara on April 30, 2006. Adam Barry and Miles Williams each had an RBI in the game.

The Dirtbags evened the series on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 win of their own, despite eight Northridge hits. The Sunday finale was the most dramatic of the three contests, with the game going to extra innings. Ridge Carpenter tripled in the seventh inning and scored on a throwing error on the play. TS Reed scored from first on the ball to right center field as well to give the Matadors a 3-2 lead. Long Beach State scored in the bottom of the eighth and the game went to extras before the Dirtbags scored the winning run on an error with two outs. The series was the final road trip for Northridge this season, and they finished the year 7-18 away from Matador Field (4-17 road, 3-1 neutral site).

Yard Work

The Matadors continue to rank at the top of the Big West with the long ball. Most recently, a Tommy Simis solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth sparked a six-run rally to force extra innings in a game the Matadors would win 9-8 over UC Riverside. Against UC Santa Barbara on May 7, both Marty Bowen and Steven Keller hit two-run bombs in the Matadors' 4-2 series-clinching win. In the 2-1 victory over Bakersfield on April 10, Ridge Carpenter led off the game with a solo home run to right field that proved to be the winner. Against Sacramento State, senior TS Reed hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot in game two of a doubleheader on March 18, and redshirt sophomore Tommy Simis added his first of the year the next day in a pair of victories and added his third on April 22 with a three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth against Pacific. 

On March 8, Andrew Muren's grand slam capped a six-run seventh inning and Chris Allen added a two-run blast in the eighth to beat San Diego State 12-9. In the victory over Lamar, Nate Ring hit a solo homer in the top of the first to give CSUN an early 1-0 lead. During the series with Valparaiso, three different Northridge batters hit their first home run of the season. Keller, sophomore Chris Allen and freshman Miles Williams all cleared the bases with two-run homers. Sophomore Joshua Goossen-Brown hit a home run in his first career at-bat for the Matadors against Seattle as well. As a team, the Matadors are tied for the lead in the Big West Conference (21) as 11 different Matadors have gone yard this season.

Winning the Arms Race

The Matadors have been able to win close games as of late thanks in large part to the defense. Whether they are turning timely double plays or throwing out runners on the basepaths, the Matadors are sending a message to opponents and the rest of the conference. In a 2-1 victory over Loyola Marymount on March 27, Northridge threw out a runner at second base, third base, and two at the plate. In the tops of the fourth and fifth innings, ground balls to shortstop Kyle Attl resulted in runners out at home as he fired to catcher Steven Keller twice to keep runs off the board. Adam Barry cut down a runner at second base from left field and Nate Ring threw out a batter trying to stretch a double into a triple. In the 2-1 victory on the road against Bakersfield on April 10, both Drew Muren and Nate Ring threw out runners at the plate to preserve the lead; Ring fired home to cut down the runner trying to tie the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Against UC Santa Barbara (5/6 - 5/8), Muren excelled in his position in center field by throwing out two runners on the base paths, once at the plate and once at second base.

Putting Up Zeros

Junior Vincent Roberts has been lights out for the Matadors all season long on the mound. At Long Beach State on May 20, the Modesto, Calif. native went the entire way for a complete game, four-hit shutout. His performance was the first complete game thrown for Northridge since Paul Tremlin did it against UC Davis on May 1, 2010, and the first shutout thrown by an individual Matador since Edwin Quirarte's on April 30, 2006 at UC Santa Barbara. On the season, Roberts has a 3.75 ERA with a team-high 50 strikeouts. In conference play, Roberts has a 2-1 record and a 2.58 ERA with 17 K's in 38.1 innings.

Breathing a Simis of Relief

Redshirt sophomore Tommy Simis has quietly come on strong for the Matadors in the later stages of the season. Simis' solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against UC Riverside (5/15) sparked an epic six-run rally to tie the game at 8-8 and force extra innings. He then reached base in the 10th and scored the winning run with one out to complete the comeback. On the season, Simis is hitting .256 with 10 doubles, 27 RBI and a team-high four home runs. His doubles total is tied for second-best on the team, he has the third-most RBI and the third-most runs scored (27).

Where there's a Williams, There's a Way

Freshman Miles Williams has embraced his opportunities in a starting role of late and had the best three-game stretch of his young career against UC Riverside (5/13 - 5/15). Williams had a single and scored a run in the opener, went 2-for-4 on Saturday, and went 3-for-4 with a walk, run scored, and reached on an error in the 10 inning in the 9-8 win on Sunday. He also had a two-out RBI single in a 2-0 win at Long Beach State (5/20). Williams in conference games has a batting average of .282, and has 11 of his 16 hits in the Big West season.

The Anchor in the Outfield

Redshirt junior Andrew Muren doubled in two runs to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against UC Riverside (5/15) and posted three hits (two doubles) in four at-bats and scored three runs in Northridge's 13-6 victory over Pacific on April 21. He had four hits, including a homerun and double, and five RBI in the conference-opening series at UC Irvine (4/1 to 4/3) and was named as a Big West Conference Co-Player of the Week after hitting two home runs, driving in seven runs and scoring six between March 7 and 13. Muren's grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning against San Diego State on March 8 scored the eventual winning run for the Matadors. He added a 3-for-4 game with one run against Long Beach State on May 22. In the three game series against UC Santa Barbara, Muren gunned down two runners, one at the plate, and made a long run and diving catch to save another run. His prowess in the outfield did not go unnoticed by the Big West Conference coaches, as they voted him the Best Defensive Outfielder in a College Baseball Insider poll earlier this year. Muren is currently tied for third in the conference with 16 doubles and is tied for ninth in runs batted in (32). He is also tied for seventh with 37 runs scored in 2011.

The Flyin' Hawaiian

Senior outfielder Ridge Carpenter tripled twice at UNLV (4/5), becoming the first Matador with two triples in a game since 1998. Against Long Beach State on May 21, Carpenter went 4-for-4 for the first four-hit game of his Northridge career. He added six hits in the series against Pacific (4/21 - 4/23) and two against UC Santa Barbara on April 26 and is the team leader in multiple-hit games with 17. He had five hits over three games against UC Riverside (5/13 - 5/15) and stole his 15th base of the year. In Northridge's 10-3 victory on Feb. 19, Carpenter went 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. Over the summer, he was ranked as one of the top ten recruits competing in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League for his success as a member of the Kauai Menehunes. His speed and skill led him to be named the Best Base-runner in the Big West in a College Baseball Insider poll of conference coaches. Carpenter has started all but game in the outfield for Northridge this season and is currently tied for second in the Big West with four triples and in stolen bases (15). He is currently tied for ninth in school history with 35 career stolen bases.

First Impressions

With the Matadors' 2-0 victory over the Seattle University Redhawks on Feb. 18, CSUN has now won on Opening Day two years in a row, bringing the program's overall mark to 31-20-2 in season openers. Junior Justen Gorski pitched seven strong innings and allowed just three hits to the Redhawks to notch his first win of the year. Gorski struckout eight hitters while walking two. Joshua Goossen-Brown and Ryan Juarez came into the game in relief to help preserve the shutout, with Goossen-Brown earning a hold and Juarez converting his first save of 2011. Senior TS Reed started the game at second base and went 1-for-1 at the plate, driving in both runs for Northridge.

Survey Says...

The 2011 Cal State Northridge baseball team received 13 points and was picked to finish in ninth place this season by the Big West coaches, as announced by the conference office in late January. Cal State Fullerton was the unanimous choice as the preseason favorite, receiving all nine first-place votes for 81 points. The Titans won their 15th Big West crown in 2010 and made their 32nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UC Irvine and UC Riverside each received 65 points to tie for second in the poll. Cal Poly was selected to finish fourth and Long Beach State nabbed the fifth spot with 47 points despite finishing in last place in the conference in 2010. The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara received 36 points in the poll to check in at sixth, and the Matadors will face UCSB five times in 2011. Pacific came in seventh as they narrowly edged UC Davis by four points in the poll.

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