Matador Baseball 2010 Season Review

June 8, 2010

Matador Baseball 2010 Season Review

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Victories over a number of top-ranked teams, a winning season for the first time since 2002, All-Big West Conference honors, top-ten worthy performances, and a slew of newly created single season and all-time records highlight the most successful season on the diamond for Matador baseball in the last eight seasons.

As released last week, Ryan Pineda, C.J. Belanger, Jimmy Jolicoeur, and Dominic D'Anna all received conference recognition, and were four of a number of Matadors who performed well both in the field, and at the plate for the Matador coaching staff.

Finishing with the highest offensive numbers in six categories, Pineda was the lone Matador named to the First Team. For graduating seniors Belanger and Jolicoeur, the award provides a fitting end to their respective careers as the duo were named to the Second Team, with teammate D'Anna earning Honorable Mention.

This is the second time that Pineda has received such end-of-the-season accolades as the native of Las Vegas, Nev. was named to the Honorable Mention list in 2008, the same season he was named Big West Freshman of the Year.

For Belanger, D'Anna, and Jolicoeur, the 2010 season represents their debut appearance on an All-Big West team.

Conference acclaims were not the only achievements earned by this year's team as a handful of Matadors were also able to add their named to the CSUN record books with their respective performances this season.

Thanks to his two-triple performance against UC Riverside on May 25, Belanger's seven triples hit this season now tie him for third place with Adam Kennedy's (1995) single-season performance, helping the senior outfielder etch his name alongside some of the most successive hitters to ever compete at CSUN.

With his 29 appearances tying him for seventh place with Robby Crabtree (1996), Brian Slover (2009), and his own performance during the 2009 season, Jolicoeur joined two different CSUN top-ten, single-season lists as his four saves earned this season also tied him for tenth place with Jeff Cherry (1972), Brad Foss (1998), and Andy Davidson (2000) for the most saves earned in one season.

The final Matador to join Belanger and Jolicoeur in adding his name on a list of single-season records is TS Reed as he now sits alongside Stu Bolin (1977), Charlie Gregg (1977), Marco Estrada (1998), and Drew Aguilar (2005) for fourth place with nine sacrifices each.

New single-season records were not the only ones that were created throughout the season as four Matadors also earned a spot on an all-time list due to the consistent level of success earned throughout their years in Matador red and black.

With the 2010 season having officially concluded, Pineda has now secured a spot on three different lists as he occupies eighth place all-time having hit 44 doubles during his three seasons at Northridge, ninth place all-time with 32 career home runs, and is tied with Robert Fick (1995-96) for eighth place all-time with 142 runs batted in.

In addition to joining Kennedy with his seven triples hit this season, Belanger's 17 career triples is the second highest total hit by a Matador in the 51 years the program has been in existence, narrowly missing the top spot set by Kennedy and his 18 career triples accrued from 1995-97.

D'Anna, Justin DeMarco, and Belanger have also joined six other Matadors for tenth place all-time with seven career sacrifice flies, with the latter two having hit the highest and second-highest total of sacrifice hits in school history with 26 and 21 respectively.

Now occupying fifth place all-time with seven saves, Jolicoeur vaulted his way up the top-ten all-time list by more than doubling the number of saves earned during his first three years as a Matador with his four saves earned throughout the 2010 season.

As a team, the Matadors set two new records in the same game when they stole five bases in one inning, and nine bases combined on May 8th to break records that were originally set 18 and 32 years ago.

Easily eclipsing last year's total of 89 doubles, this year's roster severely threatened to break the school record of 142 originally set by the 1997 team.

As valiant an effort that was put forth by the Matador starting nine, the squad fell 21 doubles short of setting yet another record, settling for the highest total of any team during Rousey's time as head coach

Including their 122 doubles, the 2010 team set four new Rousey-led team-highs as they finished this season with 16 triples, 88 stolen bases and 24 sacrifice flies.

Even though the team finished in seventh place, 12 different Matadors finished with numbers that placed them within the top-ten in the Big West within a variety of categories.

Matador hitters that ranked amongst the best in the conference include Belanger and his seven triples (2nd overall), Ridge Carpenter and his 20 stolen bases (3rd), and D'Anna and his 47 RBIs (9th), eight home runs (T-8th), 26 walks (6th) five sacrifice flies (T-5th), and 469 putouts (6th).

Also finishing with top-ten numbers were Justin DeMarco and his 29 walks (5th), Drew Muren and his 13 hit-by-pitches (T-4th) and 13 stolen bases (8th), Dominic Piazza and his 10 runners caught stealing (T-7th), Pineda and his .589 slugging percentage (8th), 57 runs (T-5th), 70 hits (10th), 66 RBIs (2nd), 16 home runs (1st), 136 total bases (5th), 24 stolen bases (2nd), and Reed's nine sacrifice bunts (T-7th).

Finishing in the upper echelon of conference statistics on the mound for CSUN included Justen Gorski and his three runners picked-off (T-3rd), Jolicoeur and his 3.70 ERA (8th), .238 opposing batting average (5th), four saves (T-6th), 29 appearances (T-1st), 19 games finished (T-2nd), and 27 games in relief (T-2nd).

Ryan Juarez led the conference in starts with 16, while teammate Bryan Longpre rounded out the list of Matador arms in the top-ten with his three runners picked off and 25 games in relief (T-2nd).

From the first day of school to the last, each and every member of the program worked as hard as they could both on and off the diamond in an effort to help their program fulfill their potential.

Before the season even began, members of the program exemplified the true definition of being a student-athlete as 18 members earned a spot on the Fall Semester Honor Roll, with five individuals finishing the semester with a 3.5 GPA or above.

On the diamond, Northridge began the season as one of four participants in the 2010 MLB Urban Invitational, a tournament that included a nationally televised game against the Southern Jaguars on the MLB Network.

It was that weekend where the nation would catch a glimpse of the potential for success this team truly possessed, as the Matador bats would drive in a collective 32 runs throughout the weekend against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, one of 64 teams to participate in the 2010 NCAA Regionals, the 2009 SWAC Championship-winning Southern Jaguars, and Pac-10 powerhouse UCLA Bruins.

It did not take long Matador faithful to witness the character and composure of their 2010 squad as Northridge defeated #18-ranked San Diego by a healthy 7-1 margin before building back-to-back come-from-behind efforts at home against the Pepperdine Waves.

During their first two weeks, Northridge faced a variety of teams that were predicted to either finish either in first or second place within their respective conference, and proved that they possessed the talent, speed, and intangibles needed to compete within one of the most all-around competitive conferences in the nation.

After taking their series finale against the 2009 Big East runner-up UConn Huskies, the Matadors built another come-from-behind effort and defeated their second nationally ranked team in as many weeks with their 5-3 effort against #11-ranked East Carolina.

At that point of the season, the Matadors had clearly defined their identity as an aggressive team who would execute the fundamentals properly to push the pace of the game in their favor, play small ball and steal bases whenever the opportunity presented itself, compete and play hard during each and every out of every inning no matter who they faced.

With the start of their conference schedule quickly approaching, CSUN would win 12 of 14 non-conference games, a portion of their schedule that included two four-game winning streaks with another three-game streak thrown in prior to their inaugural Big West match-up against the #24-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters.

With their 16-7 record heading into conference action, CSUN created their best 23-game start of a season during Coach Rousey's eight-season tenure, topping their previous mark of 12-11-1 set during the 2005 season.

The 16-7 record set by the 2010 squad was the second-best start of any Northridge baseball team since joining the Big West conference in 2001, tying the mark set by the 2002 Big West Championship-winning squad that compiled a 16-7 record during the first 23 games of their respective season.

Although their conference schedule started on a rocky note against last season's Big West champions, Northridge was able to rebound in their next conference series against Cal Poly, taking two of three from the Mustangs to win that series for the second time in three seasons.

After dropping two of three at Pacific, and against UC Davis, the Matadors would regain their composure during the first part of their season-long seven game road trip, a series of games that began with the Matadors taking two of three games from UC Santa Barbara.

After outlasting their rivals in their 14-inning, 6-5 win, the Matadors outslugged their rivals the following day to take their second conference series of the season and their second straight against their rivals from the coast.

Northridge would win their third Big West series in impressive fashion, taking all three games against Long Beach State to conclude their home conference schedule on a winning note.

In addition to honoring the six members of the graduating class of 2010 - Belanger, Jason Dabbs, Jolicoeur, Longpre, Billy Swanson, and Billy Ott - CSUN secured their first conference sweep since taking all three games from the Cal Poly Mustangs during the 2007 season.

With their sweep over the Dirtbags, this year's squad accomplished something that no team since 2002 had been able to achieve - win three conference series.

Recognized by many baseball pundits for possessing one of the toughest conference schedules, a slate of games that began against one nationally ranked and respected program in UC Irvine, the Matadors closed out their season with a weekend series against one of the top programs in the nation.

Even though their weekend series at Cal State Fullerton did not turn out as positively for CSUN as the team and their fans had hoped, the Northridge faithful could still look back on one of the more successful seasons to take place in recent years.

For the first time in the last eight years, the Matadors finished above .500 with their 29-27 overall record, winning nine Big West games for the first time under Rousey's tutelage.

Having competed against six teams who advanced to the Regionals, the Matadors learned first-hand about the amount of hard work, discipline, and talent that is needed to extend one's season and continue playing baseball throughout the month of June.

By defeating two top-ranked teams, piecing together multiple win streaks, and turning out some of the best offensive numbers in years, the Cal State Northridge Matadors realize that they have built a successful foundation for success, and are working hard to keep things going in the right direction. 

As successful as the 2010 campaign was for everyone involved, both players and coaches alike are ready to commit the time, effort, energy, and sacrifices needed to help the program continue their evolution toward becoming one of the most well-respected and successful programs in the nation.

 

The Cal State Northridge Sports Information Department would like to thank Nick Bocanegra, Jim DeMarco, "Big Tom" Hutchison, Gabe Jauregui, Patrick Newton, and Jaclyn Rymer for all of their efforts and assistance throughout the 2010 season.