Matadors Begin Push for Big West Crown at UC Davis This Week

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Cal State Northridge Matadors, winners of seven of their last eight, travel north to UC Davis this week for a three-game Big West Conference series. The Matadors are currently second in the standings and one game back of first place as the team heads into its final month of the regular season. Northridge has won four straight and has not lost back-to-back games since March 29-30 at Long Beach State. Since that game, CSUN has gone 14-4 and has swept two consecutive conference series. All three games this weekend will include live stats coverage and an Internet-only audio broadcast for free that is accessible on GoMatadors.com.

GAMES #45-47: CSUN Matadors (26-18, 11-4) at UC Davis Aggies (16-26, 3-12)

Friday, May 3 - 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 4 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 5 - 1 p.m.

Probable Starters:

Friday - LHP Jerry Keel (6-1, 2.13 ERA) at RHP Harry Stanwyck (3-5, 5.07 ERA)
Saturday - RHP Calvin Copping (5-3, 3.13 ERA) at RHP Spencer Koopmans (1-6, 6.31 ERA)
Sunday - LHP John Salas (2-5, 3.09 ERA) at RHP Evan Wolf (2-2, 4.64 ERA)

Dobbins Stadium (3,500) - Davis, 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.

Midweek Recap
The Matadors completed a season sweep of the University of San Diego on Tuesday by taking a 6-4 win at Fowler Park to clinch the Battle of the Bullfighters. Northridge got the strongest pitching performance of Brycen Rutherford's CSUN career as the junior allowed just one hit and one walk in seven innings of work. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh before a one-out single broke up his bid for history. Luckily for Rutherford, CSUN's offense produced all of the runs it would need early in the game to get him the victory.

Northridge scored six runs on all four of its hits in the top of the fourth inning. After a leadoff single by Michael Livingston gave the Matadors their first hit of the game, CSUN loaded the bases on a pair of walks. Joshua Goossen-Brown then drove in a pair with a double and Alexis Mercado hit a bloop that fell for an RBI single in left field. William Colantono brought a run home with a sac fly and Nicolas Osuna finished the rally with a single and an error that allowed two CSUN runners to score as the Matadors took a 6-0 lead. San Diego scored a run in the eighth with two outs and used a three-run home run in the ninth to draw closer before Goossen-Brown shut the door and picked up a one-out save for Northridge.

A Closer Look at UC Davis
The UC Davis Aggies enter this weekend's series with a 16-26 overall record and a 3-12 mark in Big West Conference play. Most recently, the Aggies defeated Santa Clara at Dobbins Stadium on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak. Their conference record does not indicate their quality, however, as UC Davis has already competed against then-No. 21 Cal Poly, then-No. 4 Cal State Fullerton, then-No. 21 UC Irvine and Long Beach State, four of the top five teams in the standings.

Nick Lynch leads the Aggies offensively and is hitting .353 in 41 games played. He leads the team in just a single category, having been hit by a pitch 18 times this year. John Williams leads the way with 33 RBIs for UC Davis and has collected a team-high four doubles while Paul Politi brings power to the plate and has 11 doubles to go along with five home runs.

Evan Wolf, Harry Stanwyck and Spencer Koopmans have combined for 32 of the team's 42 starts on the mound this season and should all be featured in the series this weekend. Wolf leads the rotation with a 4.64 ERA and is 2-2 through 11 starts. He has just 16 strikeouts compared to 20 walks in 52.1 innings. Stanwyck is 3-5 with a 5.07 ERA and leads the team with 31 strikeouts on the hill while Koopmans is 1-6 with a 6.31 ERA in 51.1 innings. Max Cordy is the top relief man for the Aggies and is 5-5 in 20 appearances out of the bullpen this year with six saves. However, the UC Davis pitching staff has allowed 71 stolen bases in 94 attempts in 2013. Following the series with CSUN, UC Davis will travel to Pacific for three games next weekend.

Matadors in the Big West Top Ten
With the final four conference series left to play, the Cal State Northridge Matadors rank among the statistical leaders in the Big West Conference's 11th standings release of the year. Northridge currently is eighth in team batting average (.263) and eighth in slugging percentage (.344). The Matadors are now fourth in the conference with 227 runs scored and are fifth with 382 hits recorded. Northridge has the sixth-best on base percentage (.348) and is third with 205 runs batted in. The Matadors are sixth in the league with 65 doubles and are fifth with 14 home runs. CSUN is second in the league with 51 sacrifice bunts and ranks fourth with 49 stolen bases.

Defensively, Cal State Northridge's pitching staff is settling in to a position in the middle of multiple categories. Northridge has the fifth-best earned run average (3.88) and is fifth in strikeouts with 257. The pitching staff is second in the league with 90 strikeouts looking and is fourth with 26 wins. CSUN is sixth in the Big West with five runners picked off on the year. The Matadors rank seventh for hits allowed at 406 and are fifth with 195 runs allowed this season.

Individually, Miles Williams ties for second in the conference with seven home runs. Nathan Ring is currently second in the Big West with 27 walks drawn and is sixth with 10 steals while Chester Pak is tied for fourth in that category with 11 stolen bases. Kyle Attl ties for seventh for sacrifice bunts with seven. Joshua Goossen-Brown is tied for first in the league with a 1.000 fielding percentage. He has yet to make an error in 341 chances in the field and is tied for second offensively with 37 runs batted in. Alexis Mercado is currently tied for fourth in the conference with 12 doubles on the year.

Pitcher Jerry Keel ranks tied for third and John Salas ties for eighth in the conference having struck out 19 and 16 batters looking so far this year, respectively. Salas ties for 10th in the conference with 17 appearances on the season. Keel is tied for ninth in the league wth 54 strikeouts overall and ranks third with a 2.13 ERA. Goossen-Brown currently is fourth in the Big West with eight saves and is sixth with 13 games finished on the mound. All stats are current as of May 2 and include all games through May 1.

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