May 4, 2011

Matadors Host UC Santa Barbara, Visit San Diego State This Week

May 4, 2011

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Matadors will face a pair of familiar foes this week, beginning with a three-game conference series against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Matador Field. The Big West set will get underway on Friday, May 6 at 3 p.m. on Alumni Pride Day, as all CSUN Alumni Association members will receive free admission. The series continues with afternoon contests on Saturday and Sunday, both beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday's game is "Strike Out Cancer" day to promote breast cancer awareness. Northridge will then head south on Tuesday, May 10 for a single game against the San Diego State Aztecs at 6 p.m. All games will feature Gametracker coverage on GoMatadors.com.

Conference Chatter

Now in the final month of the Big West season, the Matadors continue to maintain impressive marks in the conference statistics. The team is currently fifth in the Big West with a .267 batting average and sixth with a .365 slugging percentage. The Matadors are now tied for third the Big West in hits (374) and are fifth with 68 doubles, third in runs scored (211), runs batted in (189), and triples (9). When it comes to the long ball, no other team has hit more homeruns as Northridge leads the league with 17.

The Matadors are displaying excellent plate discipline as they are third in walks drawn (143) and times hit by pitch (47), and are fourth in sacrifice flies (18). Defensively, Northridge ranks sixth in the league in strikeouts recorded (266). The pitching staff has hit the fourth-fewest batters in the league (31), is tied for third in the conference in saves converted (10), and is second in successful pick-offs (9). All statistics are accurate as of May 2.

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 began 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 UC Santa Barbara

The Matadors and Gauchos are getting familiar with one another to say the least entering this weekend. The three game series at Matador Field will begin on Friday with the third game this season between the two teams. Northridge took a 3-2 walk-off victory at home on April 12 before UC Santa Barbara evened the season series with a 6-4 victory at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on April 26.

Infielder Sean Williams and outfielder Mark Haddow continue to lead the 19-19 (5-7 Big West) Gauchos offensively. Williams has a team-high .345 batting average with 10 doubles and 25 runs scored, while Haddow is hitting .338 with five home runs and 35 RBI through 38 games. Twelve of Haddow's 35 RBI have come against Big West Conference opponents. In the most recent meeting between the two programs, Williams went 3-for-5 with an RBI and Haddow went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs.

On the mound, the Gauchos have a trio of regular starters in Jesse Meaux, Matthew Vedo and Greg Davis. Meaux has a record of 3-5 in 10 starts this season, including one complete game. His 3.70 ERA in 65.2 innings ranks near the middle of a staff with a collective 3.86 ERA. Vedo is 3-5 with a 5.93 ERA in 12 appearances (10 starts) and has recorded a team-high 38 strikeouts, while Davis checks in at 4-3 with a 3.39 ERA and 29 strikeouts. Of the three, the Matadors have only faced Davis so far this year, as he came in to earn the save this past Tuesday in Santa Barbara.

A Closer Look at San Diego State

Following the three-game series with the Gauchos, the Matadors will make their second trip of the year to Tony Gwynn Stadium to battle the San Diego State Aztecs. The Tuesday evening game will be the third meeting of the season between the sides, with the home team winning each of the first two. On March 8 at Matador Field, Drew Muren's grand slam helped the Matadors to a six-run seventh inning and a 12-9 comeback victory. On March 29, the Aztecs evened the season-series with a 10-0 shutout in San Diego.

Cody Smith and Brandon Meredith lead the Aztecs on the offensive side of the ball, as both have appeared in 42 of 44 games for San Diego State. Smith owns a .298 batting average with nine doubles and 18 RBI, while Meredith is hitting .289 with four triples and four home runs. Meredith has driven in a team-high 32 runs and also is the team leader with 32 walks.

Cole Swanson is having a very productive year on the mound for SDSU with a 3-1 record, the best on the staff. Swanson's 3.48 ERA is third-lowest on the team and the best among pitchers that have started more than one game. On the year, he has thrown 54.1 innings with 39 strikeouts to just 19 walks. Ryan Wynveen owns a 1-0 record and a 3.74 ERA through a team-high 16 relief appearances. Wynveen has recorded one save but has allowed 22 hits in 21.2 innings.

Results from Last Week

The Matadors encountered yet another tough conference opponent on the road last weekend in the UC Davis Aggies. Northridge was unable to secure a victory during the three-game series, as early runs spelled the difference on all three afternoons.

In the first game on April 29, a first-inning grand slam with two outs put UC Davis ahead 4-0. The Matadors began to chip away at the lead, getting as close as 6-3 after a two-run fifth inning that saw Ridge Carpenter belt his third home run of the season. In the end, however, six RBI by Aggie catcher Scott Kalush were too much to overcome as the Matadors lost 9-3. Junior Adam Barry singled to extend his conference-leading hitting streak to 15 games.

On Saturday, UC Davis scored twice in the bottom of the first and the Matadors left 10 runners on base in a 6-0 shutout loss. The finale on Sunday was the closest game of the set, but the Aggies once again tacked on a run in the first. Carlos Gonzalez, Jr. was able to induce an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to minimize the damage, but UC Davis eventually put up at least one run in each of the first six innings and came away with an 8-4 decision. Senior TS Reed cleared the bases with a three-run triple for the Matadors in the top of the sixth for his first three-bagger of the season.

Yard Work

The Matadors continue to rank at the top of the Big West with the long ball. 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. Junior Steven 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 lead the Big West Conference (17) as 10 different Matadors have gone yard this season.

Barry Nice!

Junior Adam Barry may be new to the Matadors, but he is quickly solidifying himself as an offensive threat in the Big West. Although he ranks fourth on the team with 37 hits, Barry has been a spark for Northridge at the plate and owns the second highest batting average on the squad at .308. He had eight hits in the series against Pacific at Matador Field (4/21 - 4/23) and recently had his Big West Conference leading 15-game hitting streak broken up in the weekend series at UC Davis.

The Anchor in the Outfield

Redshirt junior Andrew Muren 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 homeruns, 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. 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 second in the conference with 14 doubles and is eighth in runs batted in (26).

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. He added six hits in the series against Pacific (4/21 - 4/23) and two against UC Santa Barbara on April 26 and is now tied for the team lead in multiple-hit games with 13. 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 fifth in the Big West for runs scored (31) and is tied for third in stolen bases (13).

The Goosse is Loose

Sophomore Joshua Goossen-Brown pitched a gem on April 5 at UNLV, throwing 5.0 innings and striking out five in his first start of the season. The following Sunday at Bakersfield, he nearly tossed a complete game, throwing 8.1 innings and striking out four in the 2-1 victory. For his efforts, the Sherman Oaks, Calif. native was named the Big West Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week for April 5-11. On the week, Goossen-Brown went 2-0 with a 2.06 ERA in 13.1 innings. The pitcher/utility man has also spent time as the DH, first baseman, catcher and relief pitcher for the Matadors so far this year and owns a .300 batting average. On the mound, Goossen-Brown has compiled a 5.01 ERA and is tied for the sixth-most wins in the Big West with four.

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.

A Golden State of Mind

Of the 56 games on the schedule in 2011, only five will be played outside the state of California. Northridge welcomes Seattle University, Valparaiso, Lafayette and UNLV to Matador Field this season, but only make a return trip to Las Vegas before the year is through. The Matadors compete in the four-day YMBL Cardinal Classic on the campus of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas from Mar. 3 through 6. They then travel to Las Vegas to face UNLV for one game on April 5 at the halfway mark of the season, with the entire second half of the schedule against teams from California. In total, Cal State Northridge faces just six opponents that play their home games outside of the Golden State.

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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