CSUN Baseball Opens Big West Play at No. 13 Cal State Fullerton, Hosts LMU This Week

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Cal State Northridge Matadors open up the Big West Conference portion of the schedule with a three-game series at No. 13 Cal State Fullerton this weekend. The series will bring to a close the team's 10 game road trip that started on Mar. 16 at Portland. First pitch between the Matadors and Titans on Friday, Mar. 30 is slated for 7 p.m. with Saturday scheduled for 6 p.m. and the finale on Sunday, Apr. 1 at 1 p.m. Following the series at Fullerton, the Matadors will return home to face the Loyola Marymount Lions on Apr. 3 at 3 p.m. in a rematch of Northridge's 12-1 victory at Page Stadium on Mar. 20. All games this week will have live stats coverage and the series at Cal State Fullerton will include a radio broadcast accessible from the schedule page at GoMatadors.com.

GAMES #25-27: Northridge Matadors (11-13, 0-0 Big West)
at No. 13 Cal State Fullerton Titans (15-9, 0-0 Big West)

Friday, Mar. 30 - 7 p.m.
Saturday, Mar. 31 - 6 p.m.
Sunday, Apr. 1 - 1 p.m.
Goodwin Field (3,500) - Fullerton, Calif.

Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com

Audio: Kevin Strauss, Play-By-Play
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUNBaseball

GAME #28:

Northridge Matadors vs. Loyola Marymount Lions (8-12)

Tuesday, Apr. 3 - 3 p.m.
Matador Field (1,000) - Northridge, Calif.

Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com

Audio: TBD, Check Schedule for Updated Information
In-game Twitter updates: @CSUNBaseball

Matadors Renew Rivalry with No. 13 Titans, Close Series with Lions This Week
The Cal State Northridge Matadors open up the Big West Conference portion of the schedule with a three-game series at No. 13 Cal State Fullerton this weekend. The series will bring to a close the team's 10 game road trip that started on Mar. 16 at Portland. First pitch between the Matadors and Titans on Friday, Mar. 30 is slated for 7 p.m. with Saturday scheduled for 6 p.m. and the finale on Sunday, Apr. 1 at 1 p.m. Following the series at Fullerton, the Matadors will return home to face the Loyola Marymount Lions on Apr. 3 at 3 p.m. in a rematch of Northridge's 12-1 victory at Page Stadium on Mar. 20. All games this week will have live stats coverage and the series at Cal State Fullerton will include a radio broadcast accessible from the schedule page at GoMatadors.com.

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 split four games with the West Coast Conference last week, going 2-2 on the road against Loyola Marymount at St. Mary's. After defeating LMU on Tuesday, Mar. 20 at Page Stadium 12-1, Northridge took two of three at Louis Guisto Field against the Gaels. The Matadors dropped the first of three games at St. Mary's before winning the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday, Mar. 25. Due to a rainout on Saturday, Mar. 24, the series was shortened from four games to three.

Against Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, all nine Matadors in the starting lineup had at least one hit while Adam Barry led CSUN by going 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Miles Williams and Nathan Ring each drove in two runs as eight different Matadors collected an RBI and Northridge matched its season high of 12 runs scored in the 12-1 victory. Brandon Warner earned his first collegiate win and pitched 5.0 innings, allowing just one run.

The Matadors were then able to take one out of three from St. Mary's, winning the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday, Mar. 25. Alex Muren threw his second complete game of the season and the Matadors scored in the top of the ninth to take a 3-2 win in the second game of the series. Muren won his fifth game of the year, more than his total in his first two seasons at CSUN combined (4). Ryan Raslowsky went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI and Cal Vogelsang got two hits in the game but the Matadors dropped the Friday matchup and the finale against the Gaels by scores of 7-3 and 3-1.

A Closer Look at No. 13 Cal State Fullerton
The No. 13 Cal State Fullerton TItans enter the Big West Conference season at 15-9 after splitting a midweek series at Arizona State. The Titans are 11-4 at Goodwin Field, getting wins over TCU, San Diego State and Oral Roberts, among others at home. The Titans closed out the 2011 regular season at Matador Field, taking two out of three in the series.

The Titans are led on offense by Carlos Lopez, who has started every game this season and has a batting average of .370. He has collected nine extra-base hits, all doubles, and has driven in 12 runs. Michael Lorenzen is an excellent two-way player, hitting .337 with two triples and 13 RBIs, while also tallying a conference-high nine saves in 10 relief appearances.

Kenny Mathews and Dylan Floro each have six starts for Cal State Fullerton and have records of 3-0 and 3-2, respectively. Following the series with the Matadors, the Titans will play a midweek game at SDSU before hosting UC Davis Apr. 5-7.

A Closer Look at Loyola Marymount
Following the series at Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge will return home after concluding its 10-game road trip and will host the Loyola Marymount Lions (8-12) on Tuesday, Apr. 3. Northridge defeated LMU on Mar. 20 12-1 at Page Stadium.

Since that game, the Lions dropped two out of three at the University of Nevada-Reno. They will open up their West Coast Conference schedule on Mar. 30 with a three-game series against St. Mary's at home before traveling to Northridge on Tuesday.

Cullen Mahoney has started each game for LMU this season and leads the team with a .364 batting average. He leads the team with 24 hits and is second with 12 runs scored. Starting pitcher Colin Welmon is 3-2 in six starts this season on the mound and is second on staff with a 2.33 ERA. He leads the team with 38.2 innings pitched and has 25 strikeouts.

Conference Chatter
Heading into the Big West Conference portion of the schedule, the Matadors are staking their claim in numerous Top 10 lists. As a team, Cal State Northridge ranks seventh in the Big West Conference with a combined batting average of .262. The Matadors have hit the fifth most doubles (35) and are second in the league with nine home runs. The 202 hits collected are fourth in the conference standings. The team ranks 11th in the country with 32 sacrifice bunts as of Mar. 25.

Individually, junior Marty Bowen ties for third with 13 walks and fifth with five sac bunts. Sophomore outfielder Miles Williams ties for third in the league with three home runs. He is tied for seventh in the conference with 12 walks.

Junior Brett Balkan has been hit by a pitch 12 times, which rank him first in the conference and tie for eighth in the nation. Senior Steven Keller checks in tied for fifth 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 fourth 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 third in the conference with 41.2 innings pitched and leads the league with five wins on the season, which are good for a tie for seventh in the country. He is also sixth with a .220 batting average against and his two complete games tie for 11th in all of Division I baseball.

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 third as he has finished eight games on the mound for the Matadors. Cohen also ties for the league lead with 13 appearances in 2012. Another freshman, Jerry Keel, is tied for third in the league among starting pitchers with a 1.62 ERA, good for 64th in the NCAA, and ranks eighth with a .238 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.  Against San Diego at the SDSU Aztec Invitational on Mar. 3, he struck 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. He threw his first nine-inning complete game in a victory over St. Mary's on Mar. 23, striking out a career-high six hitters. Muren has pitched a team-high 41.2 innings, leads the staff with 22 strikeouts, and is second on the team with a 3.46 ERA.

Where There's a Williams, There's a Way
Sophomore Miles Williams is third on the team with a .294 batting average, is second on the squad with 14 runs scored and leads with 14 RBIs after 24 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. At LMU on Mar. 20, Williams drove in two runs and now has four multi-RBI games.

Good to Be Back
Senior outfielder Todd Eskelin has made his presence known through the first 24 games of the season. Playing his first significant time since 2009, Eskelin currently has a .293 batting average that ranks fifth 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 fourth on the team, and sits fourth on the team with 10 walks. In 20 games this year, Eskelin has a .431 slugging percentage.

Attl Boy!
Junior shortstop Kyle Attl is coming into his own in his third season with the program. He is hitting .233 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 three sacrifice bunts, Attl also has five doubles and nine RBIs and has scored a team-high 16 runs. 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. Attl went 2-for-3 at LMU on Mar. 20 and drove in a run while scoring two in the 12-1 victory.

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. Keel has a team-best 1.62 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 2012.

Barry Nice
Junior Adam Barry is building on the productive summer season he had last year, as he owns a team-high .333 batting average with five doubles and 10 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. He went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored in the win at LMU on Mar. 20.

Rookie Report
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.

Scheduling Story
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 No. 13 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.

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