NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors will play their final non-conference game before the Big West season gets started as the team hosts the University of San Diego Toreros on Tuesday afternoon. The Matadors are looking to build on their current four-game winning streak and will take on a USD team that participated in the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Last season, the Matadors and Toreros split a pair of games during the SDSU Aztec Invitational in early March.
GAME #23: Northridge Matadors (10-12) vs. San Diego Toreros (15-8, 4-2 WCC)
Tuesday, March 26 - 3 p.m.
Matador Field (1,000) - Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats: Link Available on Baseball Schedule Page
Audio: Link Available on Baseball Schedule Page
In-game Twitter Updates: @CSUNBaseball
Follow Your Matadors Online
All home games this season will include live stats coverage and selected contests will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road games, related links to the game, including for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the game on the baseball schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge Athletics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) and the baseball-specific feed (@CSUNBaseball) for updates of games in progress and news and notes throughout the week.
The Matadors swept four games from Utah Valley last weekend in the first series in history between the two programs. For Northridge, it was the first four-game sweep since the 2010 season at Seattle University. The Matadors opened the series with a bang on Friday and got a two-run triple from Kyle Ferramola and a three-run home run from Miles Williams en route to an 8-2 victory.
On Saturday, CSUN took both ends of a doubleheader by a combined two runs. The first game, which ended 4-3 in seven innings, was made interesting as Utah Valley scored three runs in the top of the sixth. Chester Pak drove in a pair of runs to lead Northridge and Calvin Copping picked up his second win of the year. Ferramola was the hero of the second game and hit the first two home runs of his collegiate career, including the game winner in the bottom of the eighth, as CSUN won 5-4. Joshua Goossen-Brown recorded a save in both contests.
The Matadors completed the sweep on Sunday with a 3-1 win as John Salas pitched 8.0 shutout innings on the mound and Williams collected his ssecond homer of the series.
A Closer Look at San Diego
The University of San Diego Toreros bring a record of 15-8 into the week and are already 4-2 in West Coast Conference play. The Toreros will open the week with a home game Monday against UNLV before heading to Northridge for Tuesday's game. San Diego is 3-2 in road games and a total of 5-2 in games played away from Fowler Park, including neutral-site contests.
Kris Bryant is one of many offensive weapons for the Toreros and is continually in the discussion as a National Player of the Year candidate. Through 23 games, Bryant is batting .383 with seven doubles, a triple, 12 home runs and 27 RBIs. He has also been walked 29 times this year, scored 35 runs and has collected five stolen bases.
Dillon Haupt is another regular starter hitting over .350 and comes into the week with a .371 average, 14 doubles and 24 RBIs. Connor Joe has started all but one game for USD and is hitting .341 with three home runs and 20 RBIs.
The Toreros have not yet announced a starting pitcher for Tuesday's game, but the honor could likely go to Louie Lechich or Max MacNabb. Lechich has made six appearances and four starts this season and is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.76 with 13 strikeouts in 15.1 innings. MacNabb has made 10 appearances (three starts) and is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and three saves in 26.2 innings.
Following the game at CSUN, the Toreros will host Oregon State in a non-conference series this weekend.
Matadors in the Big West Top Ten
With the first week of Big West Conference play beginning this week, the Cal State Northridge Matadors rank among the statistical leaders in the Big West Conference's sixth standings release of the year. Northridge currently is eighth in team batting average (.251) and sixth in slugging percentage (.345). The Matadors rank seventh in the conference with 101 runs scored and are eighth with 177 hits recorded. Northridge has the seventh-best on base percentage (.339) and is seventh with 91 runs batted in. The Matadors are 10th in the league with 26 doubles and are tied for second with 12 home runs.
Defensively, Cal State Northridge's pitching staff has propelled the team to rankings among the top half in multiple categories. Northridge has the fifth-best earned run average (4.09) and is also sixth in strikeouts with 143. The pitching staff is second in the league with 57 strikeouts looking and is tied for fifth with 10 wins. The Matadors rank eighth for hits allowed at 207 and are fourth with 100 runs allowed this season.
Individually, Miles Williams is 10th with a .494 slugging percentage and leads the conference with 23 RBIs and seven home runs. Cal Vogelsang is tied for third with two sac flies. Nathan Ring is currently fourth in the Big West with 13 walks drawn and is tied for thirdi with six stolen bases. Tommy Simis is tied for fourth in the conference with five sacrifice bunts. Joshua Goossen-Brown is tied for first in the league with a 1.000 fielding percentage and has had 119 chances in the field. He also ties for third with a pair of sacrifice flies on the year.
Pitchers Jerry Keel, Calvin Copping and John Salas are tied for second in the conference with 11 strikeouts looking. Keel is 10th in the league wth a 2.38 ERA while Salas ties for second with 11 appearances on the season. Goossen-Brown checks in at third in the Big West with four saves. All stats are current as of March 25 and include all games through March 24.
That's Gold, Jerry! Gold!
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Jerry Keel is off to a quick start for the Matadors in 2013. Keel pitched seven shutout innings on Opening Day in a 5-0 win over Saint Mary's. He set a career high with seven strikeouts and did not allow a walk. Keel, the reigning Big West Conference Freshman Pitcher of the Year, conceded just four hits all afternoon. In a start at Washington State, he went 7.2 innings with five strikeouts and allowed just two runs. He added six strikeouts in 6.2 innings at Sacramento State and got a win over Utah Valley after striking out six in 6.0 innings. Keel currently has a 2.38 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 34.0 innings pitched this year.
Big Williams Style
Junior Miles Williams had a productive weekend at the plate for the Matadors in the season-opening series against Saint Mary's. In addition to hitting a home run, Williams doubled, scored twice and drove in five runs. The team's leading returner in terms of RBIs and home runs, Williams was also hit by a pitch three times to help Northridge get base runners in key situations. He drove in four runs across the two games of a doubleheader on against Saint Mary's. During the road trip to Washington State and Oregon, Williams hit a home run in three consecutive games, becoming the first Matadors with a homer in at least back-to-back games since 2011. After leading the Matadors with six home runs and 25 RBIs last season, Williams already has a team-high seven roundtrippers and 23 RBIs through 21 games played and had a pair of dingers against UVU.
He's a Ringer!
Senior outfielder Nathan Ring has been the lightning rod for the Matadors both offensively and defensively of late. Through 22 games, Ring is second on the team with a .300 batting average and is tied for third on the squad with nine runs scored. He has already belted two home runs this season, which also ranks tied for second. With 32 total bases, Ring ranks second on the team and he has three more walks than any other teammate at 13. Ring leads the the team with six stolen bases while also collecting a team high 24 hits. In the series at Sacramento State, Ring had five hits, four runs scored, three RBIs and two steals. In 36 chances in the outfield this year, Ring has not committed an error and has two defensive assists to his credit. Ring has reached base in all but two games so far in 2013.
Attl Do, Kyle, Attl Do
Senior shortstop Kyle Attl, the infield leader for CSUN, helped the team win on Opening Day against Saint Mary's with both his bat and glove. Attl recorded three defensive assists in the game and went 1-for-3 with a double and run scored as the Matadors won 5-0. He went 1-for-1 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader with a run scored, then went 2-for-4 with a run in the 8-3 victory in Sunday's finale. During the trip to Washington State and Oregon, Attl drove in his first two runs of the campaign while getting a hit in five of the six games. He is currently first on the team with a .319 batting average through 22 games. Attl tied for second on the team in runs scored last season and now has 56 in his career at Northridge. On the year, Attl has scoed a team-leading 14 runs and has a stolen base.
Breathing a Simis of Relief
Senior Tommy Simis started a pair of games at second base during the opening series against Saint Mary's and produced offensively for the Matadors. In the first game of a doubleheader, Simis went 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI double and followed it up with a 2-for-4 outing with a double and an RBI in the second game. He is third on the team with three doubles through his first 17 games played and now has 18 in his career. He also went 2-for-4 with a run scored in a home loss to USC and in the finale at then-No. 15 Oregon, Simis led the Matadors with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. In the win at Sacramento State, Simis went 3-for-4 with a run scored and matched his career mark for hits in a game.
Not a One-Man WolfPak
Sophomore Chester Pak is transitioning nicely into his role as the team's starting right fielder in his second full season. In the Opening Day win over Saint Mary's, Pak went 2-for-5 at the plate with a double, run scored and two RBIs. Late in the game, Pak also made a spectacular jumping catch to keep the hitter from certain extra bases. He had a hit in all four games of the opening series, one of two players on the team to do so. Pak recorded at least one RBI in all but one game of the series and also scored three runs and had a stolen base. Pak went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in the opener at then-No. 15 Oregon and is now batting .232 with eight RBIs and five stolen bases in 20 games played.
The Goose is Back
Junior Joshua Goossen-Brown put any concerns to rest with his performance in CSUN's opening-weekend series against Saint Mary's. After missing the 2012 season with an injury, Goossen-Brown returned to his familiar spot at first base and turned in a pair of three-hit games at the plate in the series. In the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, he went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Then, in the series finale on Sunday, he again went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored in an 8-3 victory. Goossen-Brown matched career-highs for RBIs and hits in a game both days. In the win at USC, Goossen-Brown pitched 3.0 scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win and also drove in two runs and scored a pair of his own as the Matadors scored eight unanswered runs to win 9-4 in 11 innings. Goossen-Brown pitched a scoreless ninth inning at Washington State to record his first save of the season as the Matadors won 5-3. In a doubleheader against Utah Valley, Goossen-Brown picked up a save in both games to help the Matadors to a sweep. He now also has 21 RBIs, 26 runs scored, five wins and nine saves in his career at CSUN.
The Bull Market
Sophomore Alexis Mercado performed well in his first weekend as the team's starting catcher. Mercado caught three of the four games during the series against Saint Mary's and hit .300 at the plate. He hit a double and scored three runs to bring his career totals to four and eight, respectively. In the Opening Day win, Mercado also cut down a runner trying to steal and has now caught a runner stealing nine times in his career. At Washington State, he drove in his first run of the year by hitting his first career home run. In the series against Utah Valley, he recorded three hits, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. On the season, Mercado has eight runs scored, six doubles and a homer.
Show Me the Ferra-Moolah
Sophomore Kyle Ferramola has taken a liking to the lineup lately and was on fire for the Matadors against Utah Valley. After moving from being strictly a pitcher to filling the DH slot in the series opener, Ferramola recorded a triple, single and two RBIs. In the second game of a doubleheader, he went 2-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth to give CSUN a 5-4 win. For his work, Ferramola was named the Big West Player of the Week.
The Matadors have put together another challenging schedule and will face four programs that competed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. A grueling non-conference slate includes series against cross-town rivals USC and UCLA as well as a four-game set at home against Utah Valley, a team that won 47 games and went 28-0 in conference play last season. Northridge has already endured an early-season road trip that saw the team play six games in six days at Washington State and No. 15 Oregon before a day off and a weekend series at Sacramento State. The Matadors will play a home-and-home series against San Diego and will host Washington. Northridge's Big West season gets underway on March 28 at Long Beach State. Five opponents (UCLA, Oregon, San Diego, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine) were ranked in the Preseason Top 30 by Collegiate Baseball. Northridge ranked 17th for strength of schedule by Boyd's World and also has the eighth toughest non-conference schedule.