May 22, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Weekend Probables
Friday, May 23 Northridge vs. UC Davis
Davin Tate (CSUN) vs. Eddie Gamboa (UC Davis)
Saturday, May 24 Northridge vs. UC Davis
Phil Hann (CSUN) vs. Brad McAtee (UC Davis)
Sunday, May 25 Northridge vs. UC Davis
Drew Muren (CSUN) vs. Bryan Evans (UC Davis)
MATADORS DROP SERIES AT PACIFIC:: Pacific welcomed Cal State Northridge with a 17-5 crushing on the Friday installment of their weekend Big West Conference series. Needing a sweep for a chance to climb out of the Big West cellar, The Tigers hung runs in every inning and caught all the breaks. Starter and resident Matador-killer Joey Centanni went down in the second with an injury, but reliever Hunter Carnevale picked up where Centanni left off and held Northridge to just one hit and no runs over his five innings.
On Saturday, Northridge rebounded in a big way, returning the favor to the tune of a 10-3 victory to even the series. Ryan Pineda was the hero in that contest, smacking home runs in each of his first two at bats and cruising to a 5-for5 evening. Four other Matadors chipped in two hits each, and Phil Hann was stellar on the mound. In his second-to-last collegiate start, Hann registered eight innings, surrendering two runs on six hits while striking out four and walking none.
In Sunday's rubber match the Tigers jumped out to a four-run lead that Northridge never recovered from, eventually falling 8-4.
WHO'S ON FIRST:: This weekend, it was probably Ryan Pineda. Pineda's 1-for-5 day at the plate Friday was no indication of things to come, as the freshman infielder proceeded to reach base nine consecutive times from Friday to Saturday. For the weekend, Pineda went 8-for-13 and reached base 11 of 15 plate appearances for the weekend. Along with his nine hits, he was hit once, walked once, and reached on one fielder's choice.
PITCHING POINTS:: After tumultuous pitching performances on Friday and Saturday at Pacific, this weekend's rotation may have a bit of upheaval- save for Saturday anchor Phil Hann.
Hann continued his outstanding senior campaign in Pacific, outlasting the Tigers with what will probably go down as the second-best start of the season for Hann.
GRAND THEFT:: TS Reed has 16 stolen bases in 2008, which is easily the best total for Northridge this season. Reed has an outside shot at entering the Big West record books in the category; three more swipes would give him a tie for the third-best total among freshman in Big West history.
Reed is the first Matador freshman since 2005 to lead his team in stolen bases. Jeff Tezak registered six thefts in that year to lead the team, and in 1989 it was first-year man Craig Clayton leading the team with five stolen bases. Reed's 16 steals are believed to be a Northridge freshman record.
Pineda has already logged enough doubles to qualify for the conference list with 17. That mark puts him alongside four others in Big West history and within three of becoming the third Big West freshman with 20 doubles. DeMarco, while second in Big West history among freshman with 14 sac bunts, is just over halfway to Ben Orloff's mark of 26, set back in 2006. A junior at UCI, Orloff is already the big West career record holder in that department.
DeMarco is also in the freshman record books for hit by pitch. With ten, DeMarco joins two others in the Big West books.
SERIES SUMMARY:: Northridge welcomes UC Davis in the youngest of it's eight Big West rivalries. The teams have squared off just ten times, and this year marks the first time the squads have met in Big West play.
The Matadors have not fared well historically against the Aggies. Davis owns an 8-2 advantage on the all-time ledger, dating back to 1990 when thy were a Division II power.
Recently, UC Davis dispatched Northridge in Davis with a decisive sweep, outscoring the Matadors 29-20 in a series of slugfests.
SCOUTING UC DAVIS:: Aggies: UC Davis captured momentum early in the 2008 season and has not slowed down, tearing their way through their slate to an 11-10 conference mark. The Aggies had been in the hunt for a NCAA regional berth up until a series loss to Cal State Fullerton and back-to-back series losses versus UC RIverside and UC Irvine. Long Beach State, who would claim a share of the Big West title with a series win at Fullerton this weekend, was beaten in a pair of one-run games by UC Davis late in the season as well.
UC Davis is led by Golden Spike Award semi-finalist Jake Jefferies. The junior catcher is batting a robust .389 while making 52 starts this season behind he dish. Jefferies' 18 doubles and 53 RBI are tops on his squad. Sophomore infielder Ty Kelly, a transfer from Loyola Marymount, is the high man for the Aggies in the batting average department at .405. Kelly leads a group of five Aggies in the 30-39 RBI range at 37.
Ryan Royster and Ryan Scoma round out the heart of the Aggie offense. Scoma has notched 46 RBI while Royster has smacked a team-leading nine RBI.
As a team, UCD leads the conference with 618 aggregate hits and is second in the Big West with a .322 batting average.
On the mound, Friday starter Eddie Gamboa and Saturday guy Brad McAtee have been outstanding all season. Gamboa has posted a paltry 2.55 ERA in 2008 and is 6-3 on the year. McAtee isn't far behind at 3.27 and 7-3, while Sunday man Bryan Evans chimes in at 5.06 and 3-3.
The bullpen has also been solid for Davis, with Justin Fitzgerald and Mark Grifantini getting the lion's share of action. Fitzgerald has 21 relief appearances and has logged saves in 13 of them with a 2.90 ERA. Grifantini has been the bridge to Fitzgerald, making 15 appearances and running up a 3.18 ERA. Both player average at least a strikeout per inning.