Sept. 24, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors 2009 recruiting class has been ranked the 40th-best in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball newspaper's annual evaluation of NCAA Division I baseball classes.
"A lot of talented players are going to be on our roster this season," stated Matadors Assistant Coach Mark Kertenian. "The last two seasons have brought a number of gifted players who are eager to play for the Matadors, make a number of positive contributions to the team this season, and help create the foundation of success for future recruiting classes as well."
Unlike last season's recruiting class that was laden with positional players, this year's class includes a bevy of pitching talent. In total, eight freshman and two transfer students will don the Matador logo for the first time this spring.
Junior transfer Ryan McCarney (RHP, College of the Canyons) was originally drafted in the 29th round of this year's draft by the Cleveland Indians. But after carefully weighing all his options, he decided to place his major-league aspirations on hold and chose to play for Head Coach Steve Rousey and the Matadors this season.
McCarney was not the only Matador who was faced with a difficult decision as freshman Bryan Harper (LHP, Las Vegas HS) was selected in this year's draft in the 31st round by the Washington Nationals. Even though the offer to turn professional was enticing, the too chose to take advantage of the opportunity to hone his skills under the tutelage of Rousey and compete for the Matadors this season.
Also making the trip to Northridge is junior Bryan Longpre (RHP, Grossmont College). Longpre was one of the premier pitchers in the Pacific Coast Conference last season, and looks to continue his stellar play on the mound for the Matadors this season.
Also looking to carve their identity on this year's roster are freshman pitchers Steve Messner (LHP, Apple Valley Christian HS), Chris Deboo (RHP, Otay Ranch HS), and Justen Gorski (RHP, Moorpark HS).
Challenging the incumbent Matadors for playing time in the field this season will be newcomers Darren Mullen (C, San Luis Obispo HS), Wesley Wright (OF/RHP, Moorpark HS), Robert Nadalsky (OF, San Luis Obispo HS), and infielder Tommy Simis (2B/SS, Poway HS).
Led by 2008 Big West Conference Player of the Year Ryan Pineda, over half of the Matador starting lineup was comprised of freshman talent. It was not uncommon at times for Rousey to field an all-freshman team in all nine positions around the diamond in an effort to gain valuable experience in a highly competitive conference, against some of the best baseball programs in the nation.
Rousey will, once again, look for this season's neophytes to make an immediate contribution as his team continues their off-season workouts in preparation for the upcoming campaign.
Coming off a 24-32 (8-16 in the Big West) season, Rousey returns a solid core of starters who made debuts of their own last season.
The Matadors were one of four representatives from the Big West Conference that were ranked by the Tucson-based publication, a list that also included Cal State Fullerton (14), UC Irvine (22) and Long Beach State (39).
Arizona State earned the No. 1 spot in this year's rankings followed by Oregon, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and 2008 College World Series finalist Georgia. Other West Coast teams named to this elite list include: UCLA (6), defending national champions Fresno State (10), Oregon State (12), USC (16), Stanford (26), San Diego State (29), and Pepperdine (33).