Matadors Begin Big West Action Against UC Santa Barbara This Weekend
March 26, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Friday, March 27 Northridge vs. UC Santa Barbara Matador Field Northridge, Calif. 3:00 p.m. PDT Gametracker
Saturday, March 28 Northridge vs. UC Santa Barbara Matador Field Northridge, Calif. 1:00 p.m. PDT Gametracker/Radio
Sunday, March 29 Northridge vs. UC Santa Barbara Matador Field Northridge, Calif. 1:00 p.m. PDT Gametracker
ON THE MOUND
Friday RHP Billy Ott (1-1, 4.68) vs. RHP Joe Gardner (3-0, 1.38)
Saturday RHP Ryan Juarez (3-2, 6.07) vs. LHP Mario Hollands (2-2, 3.55)
Sunday TBD vs. RHP Mike Ford (3-1, 5.68)
Matadors vs. UCSB
After going 1-5 against the Gauchos last season, the Matadors will look to reverse their fortunes against their neighbors to the north in their three games this season. Even though CSUN won their last match-up in 2008, the Gauchos still hold 69-53-3 overall series advantage.
Friday's game will be the second consecutive season opener for Coach Rousey and his team against their rivals from the coast, as he looks to avenge his 9-5 defeat in Santa Barbara last season with a different outcome at Matador Field on Friday.
Out to their best start since 1991, and reaching their highest ranking since 1990, the Gauchos possess a team batting average of .293 and are averaging 7.5 runs per game, while allowing opponents to score only 5.1 per game; an important statistic to be aware of throughout the weekend as Santa Barbara currently possesses a 11-1 record whenever they plate six or more runs in a game.
With a 7-1 record at home, but only a 4-3 mark on the road in 2009, the Matadors will look to add to the Gauchos road woes while improving on their own 9-6 record at Matador Field.
2009 Mike Frick Scholarship Recipient
Current Matador sophomore Justin DeMarco will join an elite list of student-athletes from the Cal State Northridge baseball program as the 2009 recipient of the Mike Frick Memorial Scholarship.
DeMarco will receive scholarship funds in Mike's memory from an endowment set up by his parents, Lori and Gary Frick.
Initiated in 2005, the Mike Frick Memorial Scholarship is presented annually to the player that best personifies and embodies Frick's work ethic, leadership skills, and dedication to the game of baseball as chosen by the coaching staff.
Before being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the eighth round of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft, Frick pitched three seasons at Cal State Northridge for then-head coach Mike Batesole, and is still the current Matador record-holder in games pitched and total saves with 36 and 9 respectively, both set during the 2001 season.
DeMarco joins a select list of Matadors that includes Drew Aguailar, Alberto Quintana, Bobby Paschal, and last year's recipient, Phil Hann.
Three = Free on Sunday
Matador baseball fans can receive free admission to Sunday's game against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos by bringing in any three canned food items to Matador Field. Items will be collected at the ticket booth located at the main entrance to Matador Field, with all proceeds benefitting the Children's Hunger Fund (www.chfus.org).
Last Time Out
Even though the Cal State Northridge Matadors (9-13) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning, the Loyola Marymount Lions (13-12) were able to regroup and string together a come-from-behind effort to defeat the Matadors 12-9 Tuesday afternoon.
Both teams combined for four home runs and 23 hits on the afternoon as the Matador bats caught fire early before the host Lions were able to battle back to regain the lead; an advantage that was never given up for the remainder of the contest as Northridge was able to tie the game on two separate occasions before the Lions created a deficit too large for Northridge to overcome.
CSUN erupted for four runs on five solid hits in the first and immediately put LMU on their heels to open up the game. After C.J. Belanger drew a walk, John Parham doubled to left-field to put himself and Belanger in scoring position.
Richard Cates soon emptied the bases with his single up the middle of the infield to drive home the first two runs of the game. Once Cates was caught stealing, many in the crowd thought the Lions had effectively stemmed the Matador's momentum only to be proven wrong on back-to-back doubles by Ryan Pineda and Dominic D'Anna.
Chris Hannick drove in the final run of the inning on his single to drive home D'Anna.
After LMU regrouped and recovered from the early Matador scoring spree, the Lions responded by putting five runs on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning.
The initial one-run lead would be short lived, however, as Justin DeMarco his his second home run of the season on a 1-0 count to open up the second inning to left-centerfield, tying the game at 5-5.
LMU responded to the Matador's counterattack in the top of the second by scoring another two runs of their own to regain the lead as off a fly ball to left field that was mistakenly lost in the sun. Had the catch been made, the inning would have ended; instead two Lions were able to score to give their squad the lead once again.
After the Matadors gave up an additional four runs in the bottom of the fourth due to an error, a walk, and four singles, Pineda hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth that landed in almost the exact same location as DeMarco's home run in the second to trim LMU's lead to 11-8.
The lead would decrease to only two runs just before the seventh-inning stretch as Cates scored once again on a D'Anna ground out after reaching base on a single of his own, taking second base one Pineda drew a walk, and took thirs on a failed pick-off attempt by Lions pitcher Jeremy Burrell that sailed into centerfield instead of finding the glove of his shortstop, the intended target.
It would be the closest that the Matadors would get to eliminating LMU's advantage as they responded once again with another run of their own in their half of the seventh to bring the score to its eventual 12-9 result.
Don't Be Late
The Cal State Northridge Matadors have been able to shrink a nine inning game into a four frame affair as they are undefeated when leading after four innings. CSUN is a perfect 6-0 on the season with the lead after the first half of the game, and hold a 6-1 record when leading after the first three innings.
Matadors vs. The Nation
With conference play about to commence, the NCAA has compiled a list of statistics (as of March 23) for all the teams competing in Division-I baseball, with a couple of Matadors making a name for themselves against some of the best talent in the country.
With 12 stolen bases so far this season, centerfielder Jeff Pruitt not only leads the Big West Conference, but is ranked 29th in the nation in that category.
His teammate, Brian Slover, is currently tied for 50th place with three saves to his credit in 2009.
From a team perspective, the Matadors 16 sacrifice bunts places them at 46th place in the nation, and also occupy 33rd place with 32 batters having been hit-by-a-pitch in their 22 games played. CSUN also allows the 48th-fewest number of walks in the nation averaging 3.18 walks allowed per nine innings.
A Closer Look at the Numbers
Amongst their Big West Conference counterparts, the Cal State Northridge Matadors rank at or near the top in a variety of statistical categories for all games played up to March 22nd. As a team, they have the third-highest amount of hits with 201, the fourth-highest number of home runs hit with 16 and total bases with 287, have drawn the third-highest number of walks with 75, have been hit by a pitch on 32 occasions which ranks them as the second-highest in that dubious category, lead the conference with six saves and 13 runners picked off which is one fewer runner than the next three teams combined, and caught the second-highest amount of runners stealing at 12.
From an individual perspective, Richard Cates is ranked eighth with his .384 batting average, leads the conference with 33 hits, is tied for fourth with first baseman Dominic D'Anna with seven doubles hit on the season, while his teammate Ryan Pineda is ranked ninth with his .615 slugging percentage, sixth with 21 runs batted in, fifth in home runs with 5, and is fourth in total bases with 48.
Jeff Pruitt is tied for third in the conference with his two triples hit, tied for the conference lead with 15 walks and possesses the outright lead with 12 stolen bases.
Billy Ott makes the top-ten with his ninth-lowest opposing batting average of .242, while his teammates Brian Slover and Ryan McCarney are ranked #3 and #1 with three saves and five runners picked-off respectively.