NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge baseball program welcomed back Matador alumni for two days of fun and friendly competition as the 2013 Matadors hosted their inaugural Alumni Weekend on Friday and Saturday. The weekend began on Friday with a golf tournament and "First Pitch" Dinner at Lost Canyons Golf Club in Simi Valley, Calif. and concluded with the annual Alumni Baseball Game on Saturday at Matador Field.
"It was awesome seeing all of the former Matadors come out to support our program all weekend," said senior infielder Tommy Simis. "Being able to connect with former players, coaches, family and supporters at the golf tournament, dinner and game shows the current players the rich tradition of Northridge baseball."
"This was the third consecutive successful year for our Alumni Game, which I think is an important part of keeping players in contact with the program," said CSUN head coach Matt Curtis. "The golf tournament was fantastic, as it allowed us to connect with our supporters in the Matador Baseball family and our community as a whole."
At the "First Pitch" Dinner on Friday night, former Cal State Northridge Head Coach and Athletics Director Bob Hiegert was presented with an award for Meritorious Service to the program. Hiegert led the Matadors to its pair of NCAA Division II National Championships (1970, 1984) and is the program's all-time winningest coach with a record of 609-411-9 (.596).
"I have gotten the chance to get to know Coach Hiegert over the last couple of years and he is the type of coach that inspires tremendous loyalty and respect and is a role model for his players and those in coaching," continued Curtis. "It is special to honor him and I'm glad our student-athletes were able to hear his experiences and struggles his teams overcame to have the success they had. Their situations parallel what we are currently facing and I am glad we could honor Coach with an award he truly deserves."
Saturday's exhibition put a cap on the festivities, as the current Matadors and their alumni counterparts once again squared off in front of friends, family and fans. For the current Matadors, Chester Pak's grand slam helped the team get into a rhythm that resulted in 11 runs before the day was through.
Being able to return for another game at Matador Field fueled the spirit of the alumni, as spectacular defensive plays, heads-up baserunning and key at-bats elicited cheers from their dugout and the stands. In the end, camaraderie and brotherhood were the winners.
"It was great to have all of the guys come out and reminisce and see how we are all adapting to the 'real world,'" said former pitcher/outfielder Jeff Pruitt (2009). "It is really cool to be back on the field again and see the new Matadors before the season starts. At the beginning of the year, everyone can win a championship and it is great to see the ability and mindset of this team."
The 2013 Matadors will open their season on Friday, Feb. 15, against St. Mary's at 2 p.m. The Matadors and Gaels will play a four-game series, with a doubleheader scheduled for February 16 at 11 a.m. and a game on February 17 at 1 p.m.