NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors continue an 11-game road trip this week with games at Loyola Marymount University and St. Mary's College. Northridge opens the week with one game against the Lions on Tuesday, Mar. 20 at 3 p.m. Then, on Friday, Mar. 23, the Matadors will play the first of four scheduled games against the Gaels. The series at St. Mary's will include a doubleheader on Saturday, Mar. 24 beginning at 11 a.m. After the three games in Moraga, the Matadors will head to Cal State Fullerton to take on the Titans in the teams' Big West Conference Opener on Mar. 30.
Northridge Matadors (9-11) at Loyola Marymount Lions (7-9)
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - 3 p.m.
Page Stadium (1,000) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio: Kevin Strauss and Jim Henry, Play-By-Play
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUNBaseball
Northridge Matadors (9-11) at St. Mary's Gaels (11-7)
Friday, Mar. 23 - 3 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 24 - 11 a.m. (Doubleheader)
Sunday, Mar. 25 - 1 p.m.
Louis Guisto Field (1,500) - Moraga, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio: Kevin Strauss, Play-By-Play
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUNBaseball
Can't Make it Out to the Field?
Follow the Matadors online all season long at GoMatadors.com on your computer or smartphone. A majority of this season's games will feature an Internet radio broadcast provided by Stretch Internet that can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection, including tablet computers, Android products and the Apple iPhone. If you miss a game, you can access the broadcasts on demand for free by clicking the "On Demand" tab in the CSUN audio portal. As a shortcut, fans can open the audio portal by clicking on the headphones icon at the top of any page of GoMatadors.com.
Games this season will also include live stats coverage that can be accessed by clicking the "Live Stats" link on the baseball schedule page. Links to radio coverage (for both teams, if applicable) will also be on the schedule page. As always, game-by-game coverage and news updates can also be found on Twitter by following @CSUNBaseball and @GoMatadors.
Results from Last Week
The Matadors had a tough week with five games played against Rhode Island and Portland. Northridge went 1-4 and lost three games by a combined four runs. The Matadors dropped a pair of games to the Rams before taking a hard-fought battle in the second game of a doubleheader at Portland on Friday, Mar. 16. In the series finale at Portland on Sunday, Mar. 18, Northridge was part of its first weather delay of the season as the game was halted for nearly 45 minutes due to snow.
Against Rhode Island on Tuesday and Wednesday, Northridge had trouble closing out the Rams as they held a lead after the middle innings in both games. Miles Williams, Kyle Attl and Ryan Raslowsky had RBIs in the first game of the series and Cal Vogelsang led the attack with a 3-for-5 performance, including a home run and three RBIs in the second game. Attl added another RBI as four different Matadors had a double in the loss.
The Matadors then traveled north to Portland for a three-game series that was moved to nearby Concordia University due to weather. The teams split a doubleheader on Friday, Mar. 16 as Alex Muren pitched 7.0 innings with three strikeouts and Raslowsky brought home two runs in the second game for the victory. Raslowsky also scored as Todd Eskelin drove him in for an insurance run in the seventh. Northridge lost the finale on Sunday in a game that saw a snow delay after the top of the sixth inning. Northridge led 1-0 at the time but the Pilots were able to tie the game after play resumed and hit a walkoff single with two outs in the ninth.
A Closer Look at Loyola Marymount
The Loyola Marymount Lions enter the week at 7-9 overall after taking two out of three games against Indiana at Page Stadium last weekend. After dropping the first game, LMU swept a doublheader on Friday, Mar. 16 to win the series. The Lions are 4-6 on their home field this year.
Cullen Mahoney leads the Lions with a .408 average and 20 hits this season. Mahoney has started all 16 games thus far for LMU and ties for the team lead with 11 runs scored and one home run. Scott Harkin is second on the team with a .320 batting average and leads all Lions with 11 runs batted in. He also has a home run in addition to three doubles on the season.
The Matadors will face left-handed pitcher Brandon Horth on Tuesday, Mar. 20. Horth will be making his first start of the season and has thrown just 2.0 innings all year. He has allowed four runs in three appearances for an 18.00 ERA.
A Closer Look at St. Mary's
Following the single game at LMU, the Matadors will travel to Moraga, Calif. for four games against the Gaels of St. Mary's College. St. Mary's is currently 11-7 and holds a record of 5-5 at Louis Guisto Field. The Gaels play a game at UC Davis on Mar. 19 before hosting the Matadors.
Troy Channing leads the team with a .397 batting average through 17 games played and ties for the team lead with 13 RBIs. All five of his extra-base hits have been doubles. Collin Ferguson sits second on the squad and is hitting at a .340 clip.
Tanner Kichler has a team-best 0.00 ERA and has appeared in eight games with one start. He has thrown 11.0 innings and has a 1-0 record. Martin Agosta is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA and has 32 strikeouts, while Kyle Barraclough has made five starts and has 34 strikeouts. Following the four games with the Matadors, the Gaels will host Sacramento State for one game and travel to LMU for three on Mar. 30.
Through the first month of games, a number of Matadors are making their way into the individual conference Top 10 lists. As a team, Cal State Northridge ranks tied for second in the Big West Conference with a combined batting average of .275. The Matadors have hit the fifth most doubles (30) and are tied for the conference lead with nine home runs. The 178 hits collected are also second in the conference standings. The team ranks tied for 16th in the country with 19 sacrifice bunts as of Mar. 11.
Individually, senior Todd Eskelin is ninth in the Big West with 10 walks and junior Marty Bowen ties for 10th with nine walks and is fifth with five sac bunts. Sophomore outfielder Miles Williams is 10th in the league with a .500 slugging percentage and ties for second in the league with three home runs. He is tied for ninth with 12 RBIs, 10th with 23 hits, and sits eighth with 35 total bases. Williams is also sixth tied for ninth four sacrifice bunts and is third with 12 walks.
Junior Brett Balkan has been hit by a pitch 10 times, which rank him first in the conference and tie for 20th in the nation. Senior Steven Keller checks in tied for fourth with two home runs. Freshman catcher Alexis Mercado ties for third in the league as he has caught six runners attempting to steal this season. Junior Tommy Simis is tied for second in the conference as he has helped turn 12 double plays this season.
A group of Matador pitchers find themselves in the conference rankings as well. Junior Alex Muren is fifth in the conference with 32.2 innings pitched and ties for the conference lead with four wins on the season. He is also sixth with a .214 batting average against. Freshmen Louis Cohen and Cole Hallum are tied for third in the Big West Conference with two saves on the season and Cohen is tied for second as he has finished eight games on the mound for the Matadors. Cohen also leads the league with 11 appearances in 2012. Another freshman, Jerry Keel, is fourth in the league among starting pitchers with a 1.63 ERA and ranks ninth with a .225 batting average against.
Bad Moon Rising
Junior right-hander Alex Muren pitched a one-hitter in CSUN's win over Northwestern in the first game of a doubleheader on Feb. 25. He struck out three in seven innings and retired the final 12 hitters after allowing a single in the fourth. He earned his first victory of the season in Northridge's 6-4 Opening Day win over the Sacramento State Hornets. He pitched 6.2 innings and struck out two on the day, holding opposing hitters to a .167 batting average. Against San Diego at the SDSU Aztec Invitational on Mar. 3, he matched his career high by striking out five batters in five innings of work. Muren then went 7.0 innings with three strikeouts in a win over Indiana on Mar. 10. Muren has pitched a team-high 32.2 innings and is second on the team with 16 strikeouts.
Where There's a Williams, There's a Way
Sophomore Miles Williams has been a force on both sides of the ball in 2012. Williams is second on the team with a .329 batting average, is second on the squad with 12 runs scored and leads with 12 RBIs after 20 games. In the final game against Sacramento State, Williams blasted a three-run home run off of the third story of the parking structure adjacent to John Smith Field. Against #22 UCLA, Williams showed his defensive prowess as well, throwing out a runner at the plate trying to score in the second inning. In the final game of the SDSU Aztec Invitational at San Diego State, he hit a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth. Williams is the only Matador to reach base in all 20 games this season.
Good to Be Back
Senior outfielder Todd Eskelin has made his presence known through the first 20 games of the season. Playing his first significant time since 2009, Eskelin currently has a .321 batting average that ranks third on the team and has five doubles and a home run. His three-run home run against then-#22 UCLA was his first round-tripper since the 2009 season and he also has seven RBIs this year. He has scored 11 runs, good for third on the team, and sits second on the team with 10 walks. In 18 games this year, Eskelin has a .472 slugging percentage.
Junior shortstop Kyle Attl is coming into his own in his third season with the program. He is hitting .243 thus far and had his hit streak stopped at eight games (tied for the team high), against San Francisco on Mar. 2. In addition to two sacrifice bunts, Attl also has five doubles and seven RBIs. He drove in his first run of the campaign with an RBI single against then-#22 UCLA in the team's home opener. Attl also had a double in the win against San Diego on Mar. 1 at the SDSU Aztec Invitational. In the Mar. 10 win over Indiana, he went 2-for-5 at the plate and scored four runs, two shy of tying the all-time mark for a single game in Northridge history. He has reached base in 16 games this year and has also collected multiple hits on four separate occassions.
On an Even Keel
Freshman left-hander Jerry Keel made a positive impact on the coaches and fans alike in his first career appearance over the opening weekend at Sacramento State. Coming into the game as a reliever, Keel pitched six innings and allowed one run while striking out four hitters. Although he gave up nine hits, Keel was able to consistently work out of trouble and forced the Hornets to strand nine runners on base. Keel, originally from Palmdale, Calif., pitched 5.0 innings in the finale against Northwestern on Feb. 26 and allowed one earned run with three strikeouts for the first win of his collegiate career. He earned a start against San Diego State on Mar. 4 and struckout three in 4.1 innings and allowed just two hits in seven innings on the mound in the team's win over Indiana on Mar. 11.
Junior Adam Barry is building on the productive summer season he had last year, as he owns a team-high .342 batting average with four doubles and eight RBIs. After leading his team to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League championship last summer and setting numerous individual league hitting records in the process, Barry was selected as a Third Team Summer Collegiate All-American Team by Perfect Game USA. In the series against Indiana (Mar. 9-11), Barry went 5-for-9 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
Northridge has brought in a number of new faces to the program this year, including four junior transfers. Cal Vogelsang, Brett Balkan, Dylan Young and Harper White all bring in collegiate experience, while CSUN also sees the return of redshirts Louis Cohen and Chester Pak, who sat out their first year in 2011. In addition, the Matadors welcome 12 freshmen to the squad that look to get action in their first season with Northridge. In total, CSUN has added six infielders, six pitchers, three catchers, and an outfielder to give more depth and strength to the program. Many of the rookies on the team this season can also be used in other positions, adding versatility to the lineup as well.
The Cal State Northridge Matadors have a number of prominent programs on the schedule this season in both the non-conference and Big West portions of the calendar. Among featured games on the slate this year include a home-and-home series with perennial power UCLA and CSUN will also welcome Pac-12 contender Washington to Matador Field. Northridge will compete in an invitational at San Diego State and will face the University of San Francisco, an NCAA tournament team in 2011. The Indiana Hoosiers make their first trip to the San Fernando Valley in early March before the Matadors embark on a greuling road trip that includes series at the University of Portland, St. Mary's and preseason No. 25 Cal State Fullerton. In addition to facing the Titans, who hosted a regional in the NCAA tournament in 2011, the Matadors will host the UC Irvine Anteaters, who came within one out of making a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.