Race for Big West Title Heats Up This Week as CSUN Hosts UCSB
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Nine games remain in the Big West Conference season. Cal State Northridge is currently on an eight-game winning streak, the team's longest since 2002, and the Matadors have won their last nine conference games dating back to April 19. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos visit Matador Field this weekend for three games with both side looking for an important series victory to improve their postseason resumes. Fans are encouraged to get to the field early this weekend to find parking close to the ballpark as the Big West Track and Field Championships are also being held on campus on Friday and Saturday.
GAMES #49-51: CSUN Matadors (30-18, 14-4) vs. UCSB Gauchos (25-20, 10-8)
Friday, May 10 - 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 - 1 p.m.
Friday - LHP Jerry Keel (7-1, 2.03 ERA) vs. RHP Austin Pettibone (6-3, 3.39 ERA)
Saturday - RHP Calvin Copping (5-3, 3.22 ERA) vs. RHP Robby Nesovic (2-2, 6.19 ERA)
Sunday - LHP John Salas (3-5, 3.32 ERA) vs. LHP Andrew Vasquez (1-2, 4.43 ERA)
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.
Cal State Northridge scored a major upset on Tuesday night, winning at No. 8 UCLA for the first time since 2008. With the win, the Matadors jumped up 12 spots to No. 74 in the RPI heading into this weekend. Northridge charged out of the gates at Jackie Robinson Stadium, pushing across three runs in the top of the first. The Matadors added an insurance run in the eighth to finish off a 4-1 victory.
Michael Livingston led off the game with a walk and moved to second on an infield single by Kyle Attl. After Nathan Ring walked, a double play ball allowed Livingston to score. Later in the first, Cal Vogelsang and Attl executed a double steal to score a run and Alexis Mercado hit his 14th double of the season to make it 3-0. UCLA scored a run in the fourth but the Matador bullpen tossed five shutout innings to keep the Bruins off the scoreboard. In the eighth, Chester Pak reached on an error, stole second and moved to third on a sac bunt by William Colantono. Pak later scored on a wild pitch. Closer Joshua Goossen-Brown pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his ninth save of the year. That mark ties for first all-time in school history for a single season and his career total of 14 also rank in a tie with Phil Polanco for first all-time.
A Closer Look at UC Santa Barbara
The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos enter the week with a record of 25-20 and a mark of 10-8 in Big West Conference play that sees the team in fifth place with nine games remaining. Most recently, the Gauchos won a three-game series at home against UC Irvine and UCSB has taken two out of three games from its last three conference opponents.
Robby Nesovic leads the team offensively with a .349 batting average and is third on the team with 26 RBIs. In 37 games for the team, Nesovic has eight doubles, three home runs and 20 runs scored. Brandon Trinkwon leads the team with four home runs and Tyler Kuresa is first with 52 hits, 12 doubles and 34 runs batted in. As a team, the Gauchos are hitting .274 and have stolen 56 bases in 77 attempts.
Austin Pettibone will get the start on the mound on Friday for UCSB. Pettibone is currently 6-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts. He is second on the team with 42 strikeouts and has also thrown a complete-game shutout this year. Nesovic, who is also a pitcher, will get the start on Saturday. He has made five starts previously this season and is 2-2 with a 6.19 ERA in 32.0 innings of work. Andrew Vasquez, one of the league's top freshman pitchers a year ago, will start on Sunday. Vasquez is 1-2 on the year in seven appearances (six starts) and has a 4.43 ERA.
Following the series against CSUN, UCSB will host Pacific next weekend and travel to UC Davis at the end of the month.
Matadors in the Big West Top Ten
With the final three conference series left to play, the Cal State Northridge Matadors rank among the statistical leaders in the Big West Conference's 12th standings release of the year. Northridge currently is seventh in team batting average (.264) and eighth in slugging percentage (.349). The Matadors are now second in the conference with 258 runs scored and are fourth with 420 hits recorded. Northridge has the sixth-best on base percentage (.352) and is second with 229 runs batted in. The Matadors are fourth in the league with 76 doubles and are fifth with 16 home runs. CSUN is first in the league with 60 sacrifice bunts and ranks tied for second with 57 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 (3.71) and is fifth in strikeouts with 273. The pitching staff is first in the league with 98 strikeouts looking and is third with 30 wins. CSUN is sixth in the Big West with five runners picked off on the year. The Matadors rank seventh for hits allowed at 443 and are fourth with 208 runs allowed this season.
Individually, Miles Williams ties for third in the conference with seven home runs. Nathan Ring is currently first in the Big West with 33 walks drawn and is tied for fifth with teammate Chester Pak with 11 stolen bases. Kyle Attl ties for fifth for sacrifice bunts with eight. Joshua Goossen-Brown is tied for first in the league with a 1.000 fielding percentage. He has yet to make an error in 371 chances in the field and is also the league leader with 43 runs batted in. Alexis Mercado is currently tied for first in the conference with 14 doubles on the year.
Pitcher Jerry Keel ranks second and John Salas ties for eighth in the conference having struck out 22 and 17 batters looking so far this year, respectively. Keel is tied for ninth in the league wth 58 strikeouts overall and ranks third with a 2.03 ERA. DJ Milam and Oscar Sandoval tie for 10th with 20 appearances this year. Goossen-Brown currently ties for third in the Big West with nine saves and is sixth with 14 games finished on the mound. All stats are current as of May 8 and include all games through May 7.
That's Gold, Jerry! Gold!
Sophomore left-handed pitcher Jerry Keel is building nicely off of his 2012 Freshman All-American status and has cemented his place as the Friday starter. Keel pitched seven shutout innings over Saint Mary's and set a then-career high with seven strikeouts. 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. In the Big West Conference opener at Long Beach State, he went 6.0 innings with five strikeouts to earn the win for the Matadors. In the series opener against UC Riverside, he struck out a career-high nine batters in 8.0 innings of work to pick up his fourth win of the season. In the opener at Hawai'i, Keel struck out five and allowed just an unearned run on five hits in a complete game victory. He followed it up with another complete game over Pacific. Keel currently has a 2.03 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 79.2 innings pitched this year.
He's a Ringer!
Senior outfielder Nathan Ring has been the lightning rod for the Matadors both offensively and defensively of late. Through 48 games, Ring has a .275 batting average and also ties for the team lead with 31 runs scored. He has already belted three home runs this season, which are good for second. With 64 total bases, Ring ranks second on the team and he has six more walks than any other teammate at 33. Ring ties for the lead with 12 stolen bases while his 49 hits rank second in the clubhouse. In the series at Sacramento State, Ring had five hits, four runs scored, three RBIs and two steals. In CSUN's midweek game against San Diego on March 26, Ring turned in a career performance, going 5-for-5 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. He also had multiple-hit performances in the first two games at Long Beach State and now leads the team with 13 such outings. Against Washington, Ring hit a home run late and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as CSUN won 8-7. In the series sweep at Hawai'i, Ring went 6-for-13 with a double, RBI and five runs scored. He also collected a stolen base and improved his batting average by 15 points. In the finale at UC Davis, he went 0-for-0 with four walks.
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. Attl went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored against San Diego on March 26. In the game at San Diego on April 30, Attl made a highlight-reel catch to save CSUN's no-hit bid in the bottom of the sixth as he went full extension to snag a soft pop fly to left field. Attl also walked and scored a run as the Matadors won 6-4. In the sweep at UC Davis, Attl smashed a pair of home runs in key situations. He is currently second on the team with a .296 batting average through 48 games. Attl tied for second on the team in runs scored last season and now has 73 in his career at Northridge. In 2013, Attl has scoed 31 runs and has six steals with 10 doubles and 25 RBIs.
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 had a career-high three hits in the opener against UC Riverside. In CSUN's win over Washington, Pak went 2-for-5 and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. In the series sweep at Hawai'i, Pak went 5-for-12 with a double, RBI and three stolen bases. On the season, he is now batting .265 with 15 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 46 games played.
The Goose is Loose
Junior Joshua Goossen-Brown turned in a pair of three-hit games at the plate in the opening-weekend series against Saint Mary's. 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. 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 at Washington State to record his first save of the season. In a doubleheader against Utah Valley, he picked up a save in both games to help the Matadors to a sweep. Against San Diego on March 26, he went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs and was a home run shy of the cycle against Loyola Marymount on April 2, collecting a career-high three RBIs in the process. After posting 10 hits across CSUN's games from April 1 - April 7, Goossen-Brown was named the Big West Player of the Week. In the series sweep at Hawai'i, he drove in eight runs and had five hits, including his first home run of the season. Goossen-Brown is now hitting .275 and leads the team and conference with 43 runs batted in. With 14 career saves on the mound, he ranks tied for first in school history and is one shy of setting the all-time record.
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 17 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. In the series sweep at Hawai'i, Mercado went 7-for-13 with two doubles and four RBIs as he had multiple hits in all three games. At No. 8 UCLA, his RBI double in the first gave CSUN a 3-0 lead as the Mataadors won 4-1. On the season, Mercado has 27 runs scored and a home run and leads the team with 14 doubles.
Return of the Mack
Senior Cal Vogelsang returned from a wrist injury on April 26 and led the Matadors offensively with six RBIs in a three-game sweep of the Pacific Tigers. In his first game since March 1, Vogelsang went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in three runs as the Matadors won 6-1. Although he went hitless in the second game, his squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth gave CSUN an important insurance run in a 5-2 victory. Then on Sunday, Vogelsang had a sacrifice bunt and two sac flies as he brought home a pair of runs in the 8-7 win. His sac fly in the bottom of the 11th came with the bases loaded to help the Matadors complete a rally after trailing 7-2 in the eighth. In just 17 games this year, Vogelsang has 16 RBIs, four sac flies and six sac bunts and is hitting .300 to lead the team.
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. In the series opener at No. 23 UC Irvine, he went 2-for-3 and now has five multi-hit games on the season.