March 2, 2011
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge Matadors will make their first road trip of the season this week as they travel to Beaumont, Texas to play in the 2011 YMBL Cardnial Classic on the campus of Lamar University. During the four-day tournament, Northridge will face off against the New Mexico State Aggies, the University of San Francisco Dons, and the Lamar Cardinals (twice). The Matadors will return home to face the San Diego State Aztecs on Tuesday, Mar. 8 at Matador Field. All games this week will be available as a radio broadcast on IBSU.net. You can access the radio feed by clicking "Listen Live" on the calendar at GoMatadors.com. Kevin Strauss will provide play-by-play at the YMBL Cardinal Classic, and the trio of Bill Courtland, Ryan McEachern and Mark Schuermann will have the duties for the SDSU game.
The Flyin' Hawaiian
Senior outfielder Ridge Carpenter continues to be a threat on both sides of the ball for the Matadors in 2011. Carpenter finds ways to get on base, as he had a hit in three of four games against Valparaiso. In the four-game series against Seattle University, Carpenter stole his first base of the year. In Northridge's 10-3 victory on Feb. 19, Carpenter went 3-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. Over the summer, he was ranked as one of the top ten recruits competing in the Hawaii Collegiate Baseball League for his success as a member of the Kauai Menehunes. His speed and skill led him to be named the best base-runner in the Big West in a College Baseball Insider poll of conference coaches. Carpenter has started every game in the outfield for Northridge.
The Goose is Loose
Sophomore transfer Joshua Goossen-Brown has wasted no time in making himself known around Matador Baseball circles. The pitcher/utility man pitched a scoreless eighth inning and picked up a hold in Northridge's 2-0 victory over Seattle University on Opening Day. The next day, he made his first start at first base for CSUN and homered in his first at-bat, a two-run blast to left field in the second game of a doubleheader. Later in the game, Goossen-Brown smacked a double and finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. He came on in relief during the Matadors' 5-2 win over Valparaiso in Game 2 of a doubleheader on Feb. 27 and pitched 4.1 innings, striking out six hitters to earn his first save of the year.
The Matadors have been seeing the ball well of late and have made opposing pitchers pay. During the series with Valparaiso, three different Northridge hitters hit their first homerun of the season. Junior Steven Keller, sophomore Chris Allen and freshman Miles Williams all cleared the bases with two-run homers. Sophomore Joshua Goossen-Brown hit a homerun in his first career at-bat for the Matadors against Seattle as well.
Results From Last Week
Cal State Northridge defeated the Valparaiso Crusaders on Feb. 26 13-4 after the game was originally suspended in the first inning on Friday the 25th due to rain. Senior Ryan Juarez resumed the game on the mound for the Matadors in relief of Carlos Gonzalez, Jr. and pitched 6.2 scoreless innings and struckout six batters to earn his first win of the season. Steven Keller and Chris Allen each hit a two-run homerun in the victory.
On Sunday, the Matadors split a doubleheader with the Crusaders at Matador Field. In a pitching duel that only saw six total hits, Valparaiso was able to capitalize more often and took the first game 2-1. Senior Justin De Marco doubled for his first hit of the season and was brought home by Marty Bowen. Northridge bounced back in Game 2 and won 5-2 behind the bat of Keller and the arms of Jacob Petersen, Alex Muren and Joshua Goossen-Brown. Keller tripled and had two RBI, Muren pitched for the win and Goossen-Brown threw 4.1 innings and struckout six to record the save.
The Matadors took the final game on Monday 6-3 to win the series three games to one. Gonzalez made his second official start of the series and pitched 4.0 innings in a no-decision. Marty Bowen was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and freshman Miles Williams got his first career hit, a tie-breaking two-run homerun to put Northridge ahead for good.
The YMBL Cardinal Classic
The Cal State Northridge Matadors will face three different teams at the YMBL Cardinal Classic this week in Beaumont, Texas. They begin the week on Thursday against New Mexico State of the Western Athletic Conference, face the host Lamar Cardinals on Friday, play the San Francisco Dons on Saturday, and conclude the tournament against Lamar on Sunday afternoon.
The New Mexico State Aggies are owners of an 8-0 record coming in to the week. Shortstop Ryan Aguayo owns a .600 batting average with 18 hits, five doubles, two homeruns and 17 RBI during the current streak. Second baseman Parker Hipp has a triple, three homeruns and 14 RBI on the season. The Matadors will face RHP Dan Reid, who is sporting a 2.08 ERA and a 2-0 record in two starts.
The host Lamar Cardinals are currently 6-3 and winners of five straight, including a four-game sweep of North Dakota State at home. Kevin Roebuck leads the Cardinals with a .333 batting average and has three doubles and three homeruns in 2011. Pitcher Eric Harrington is 1-0 in three starts this season and has a 4.26 ERA in 12.2 innings.
The USF Dons are currently 2-5, but are winners of two in a row after sweeping a doubleheader with UC Davis. Outfielder Pete Lavin has a .440 batting average in the seven games this season with 11 hits, but none have been of the extra-base variety. On Saturday, the Matadors will face RHP Matt Hiserman, who is 0-1 in two starts with a 4.63 ERA this year.
A Closer Look at San Diego State
The Cal State Northridge Matadors are very familiar with the San Diego State Aztecs, as the two programs have played each other a total of 77 times through the years. The two teams will play three times this season, with two games being played in San Diego.
The Aztecs are currently 1-5 and have played every game so far this year at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The game versus the Matadors will be their first road game of 2011. San Diego State will play games at home against UCLA, Oklahoma (twice), California and Connecticut before traveling to Matador Field on Mar. 8.
The Aztecs are led by Cody Slader, who is hitting .350 with a double and an RBI, and Brandon Meredith, who has four doubles, one triple, a homerun and five RBI. Starting pitcher Ethan Miller is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts.
With the Matadors' 2-0 victory over the Seattle University Redhawks on Feb. 18, CSUN has now won on Opening Day two years in a row, bringing the program's overall mark to 31-20-2 in season openers. Junior Justen Gorski pitched seven strong innings and allowed just three hits to the Redhawks to notch his first win of the year. Gorski struckout eight hitters while walking two. Joshua Goossen-Brown and Ryan Juarez came into the game in relief to help preserve the shutout, with Goossen-Brown earning a hold and Juarez converting his first save of 2011. Senior TS Reed started the game at second base and went 1-for-1 at the plate, driving in both runs for Northridge.
A Golden State of Mind
Of the 56 games on the schedule in 2011, only five will be played outside the state of California. Northridge welcomes Seattle University, Valparaiso, Lafayette and UNLV to Matador Field this season, but only make a return trip to Las Vegas before the year is through. The Matadors compete in the four-day YMBL Cardinal Classic on the campus of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas from Mar. 3 through 6. They then travel to Las Vegas to face UNLV for one game on April 5 at the halfway mark of the season, with the entire second half of the schedule against teams from California. In total, Cal State Northridge faces just six opponents that play their home games outside of the Golden State.
Under New Management
The Cal State Northridge Matadors will be under the direction of a new coaching staff in 2011, led by head coach Matt Curtis. Curtis joins the program from Fresno State, where he was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs for 10 years and was a part of five straight Western Athletic Conference title teams and the 2008 NCAA College World Series champions. Joining Curtis at CSUN is pitching coach Tim Leary, a former first round draft pick in 1979 by the New York Mets who won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. Also new to the coaching staff is CSUN alum and former Matador second baseman Shaun Larkin. Larkin was a member of Northridge's 2002 Big West Championship team and holds the NCAA Division-I record for consecutive times on base (18), and will work primarily with the infielders and hitters.
Dissecting the 2011 Squad
After finishing the 2010 season with a 29-27 overall record and a 9-15 mark in Big West Conference play, this year's team has its sights set on improving on the first winning season since 2002 and reaching the postseason again. The Matadors return 18 letterwinners from a year ago, led by senior outfielder Ridge Carpenter, and add 14 fresh faces to the program. Along with Carpenter, Northridge returns a core group of seniors poised to lead the team throughout the season, including infielder TS Reed, right-handed pitcher Paul Tremlin, infielder Justin De Marco, and right-handed pitchers Shawn Wilyman and Ryan Juarez.
Despite losing four key players that received All-Big West Conference honors last season, including First Team second baseman Ryan Pineda to the major league draft, the Matadors return over half of their roster in 2011. Northridge also adds seven transfers this season, including top newcomers in junior infielder Adam Barry and junior pitcher Carlos Gonzalez, Jr. This mix of transfer talent and veteran experience gives CSUN more depth around the diamond and in the bullpen as they gear up for a run at the Big West crown.
Coach Curtis takes over the reigns in his first season at Cal State Northridge and inherits a relatively young team, as just under half (14) of his players have more than two years of collegiate baseball experience. Curtis believes that the Matadors' strength lies in pitching and he adds five hurlers to his staff, run by pitching coach Tim Leary, to join eleven returning pitchers from a year ago. As Curtis brings his experience to the Big West, the Matadors will be looking to continue the success they enjoyed last season and translate it to the conference slate.
The 2011 Cal State Northridge baseball team received 13 points and was picked to finish in ninth place this season by the Big West coaches, as announced by the conference office in late January. Cal State Fullerton was the unanimous choice as the preseason favorite, receiving all nine first-place votes for 81 points. The Titans won their 15th Big West crown in 2010 and made their 32nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UC Irvine and UC Riverside each received 65 points to tie for second in the poll. Cal Poly was selected to finish fourth and Long Beach State nabbed the fifth spot with 47 points despite finishing in last place in the conference in 2010. The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara received 36 points in the poll to check in at sixth, and the Matadors will face UCSB five times in 2011. Pacific came in seventh as they narrowly edged UC Davis by four points in the poll. Cal State Northridge begins Big West play on April 1 at UC Irvine.