April 27, 2011

Matadors Hit the Road for A Weekend Series at UC Davis

April 27, 2011

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

After taking one out of three games at Matador Field against Pacific last weekend, the Matadors will hit the road for yet another Big West Conference series away from Northridge. The Matadors will face the Aggies of UC Davis at Dobbins Baseball Stadium with a trio of afternoon games beginning on April 29 at 2:30 p.m. The series will continue on Saturday and Sunday with both games scheduled for 1 p.m. Now sitting at 1-8 in conference play, Northridge will look to win their first Big West road game of 2011 and climb back into the thick of the standings. All three games will be broadcast via live radio on GoMatadors.com and IBSU.net with Kevin Strauss in charge of play-by-play.

Conference Chatter

Entering the halfway point in the Big West season, the Matadors continue to maintain impressive marks in the conference statistics. The team is currently fifth in the Big West with a .265 batting average and fourth with a .368 slugging percentage. The Matadors are now third the Big West in hits (336) and tied for fourth with 66 doubles. They are also tied for second in the conference in runs scored (200) and runs batted in (178), and are tied for fourth in triples (8). When it comes to the long ball, no other team has hit more homeruns as Northridge leads the league with 16, four more than the next squad. 

The Matadors are displaying excellent plate discipline as they are tied for third in both walks drawn (130) and times hit by pitch (43) and are fourth in sacrifice flies (17). Defensively, Northridge ranks sixth in the league in strikeouts recorded (243) and fourth in strikeouts looking (76). The Matadors' pitching staff has hit the fourth-fewest batters in the league (25), is third in the conference in saves converted (10), and tied for second in successful pick-offs (8). The Matadors are currently ranked No. 200 in the NCAA RPI rankings after a 1-2 weekend against Pacific. All statistics are accurate as of April 25.

Yard Work

The Matadors continue to rank at the top of the Big West with the long ball. In the 2-1 victory over Bakersfield on April 10, Ridge Carpenter led off the game with a solo homerun to right field that proved to be the winner. Against Sacramento State, senior TS Reed hit his first homerun of the season, a three-run shot in game two of a doubleheader on March 18, and redshirt sophomore Tommy Simis added his first of the year the next day in a pair of victories and added his third on April 22 with a three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth against Pacific. On March 8, Drew Muren's grand slam capped a six-run seventh inning and Chris Allen added a two-run blast in the eighth to beat San Diego State 12-9. In the victory over Lamar, Nate Ring hit a solo homer in the top of the first to give CSUN an early 1-0 lead. During the series with Valparaiso, three different Northridge batters 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. As a team, the Matadors lead the Big West Conference (16) as 10 different Matadors have gone yard this season.

Barry Nice!

Junior Adam Barry may be new to the Matadors, but he is quickly solidifying himself as an offensive threat in the Big West. Although he ranks fourth on the team with 35 hits, Barry has been the spark for Northridge at the plate. He had eight hits in the series against Pacific at Matador Field (4/21 - 4/23) and has now hit in 14 consecutive games, which sets the mark as the longest streak in the Big West Conference this season. With his hit in the opener against Pacific, Barry bested teammate Steven Keller's streak of 10 games to set a new team season high.

The Anchor in the Outfield

Redshirt junior Andrew Muren posted three hits (two doubles) in four at-bats and scored three runs in Northridge's 13-6 victory over Pacific on April 21. He had four hits, including a homerun and double, and five RBI in the conference-opening series at UC Irvine (4/1 to 4/3) and was named as a Big West Conference Co-Player of the Week after hitting two homeruns, driving in seven runs and scoring six between March 7 and 13. Muren's grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning against San Diego State on March 8 scored the eventual winning run for the Matadors. Muren's versatility in the field, at the plate and on the base paths make him a threat to any opponent. His prowess in the outfield did not go unnoticed by the Big West Conference coaches, as they voted him the best defensive outfielder in a College Baseball Insider poll earlier this year. In the 2-1 victory at Bakersfield on April 10, he threw out a runner at the plate from centerfield to preserve the lead. Muren is currently second in the conference with 14 doubles and is tied for fifth in runs batted in (25).

The Goosse is Loose

Sophomore Joshua Goossen-Brown pitched a gem on April 5 at UNLV, throwing 5.0 innings and striking out five in his first start of the season. The following Sunday at Bakersfield, he nearly tossed a complete game, throwing 8.1 innings and striking out four in the 2-1 victory. For his efforts, the Sherman Oaks, Calif. native was named the Big West Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week for April 5-11. On the week, Goossen-Brown went 2-0 with a 2.06 ERA in 13.1 innings. The pitcher/utility man has also spent time as the DH, first baseman, catcher and relief pitcher for the Matadors so far this year and owns a .313 batting average. On the mound, Goossen-Brown has compiled a 5.22 ERA and is tied for the sixth-most wins in the Big West with four.

The Flyin' Hawaiian

Senior outfielder Ridge Carpenter tripled twice at UNLV (4/5), becoming the first Matador with two triples in a game since 1998, and with his six hits in the series against Pacific (4/21 - 4/23) now leads the team in multiple-hit games with 12. 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 this season and is currently tied for sixth in the Big West for runs scored (27) and is tied for second in stolen bases (13).

A Closer Look at UC Davis

Northridge will hit the road for a three-game series this weekend against the UC Davis Aggies at Dobbins Baseball Stadium. The Matadors are 1-8 all-time at UC Davis and lost two of three at Matador Field in 2010.

The Aggies bring an overall record of 9-24 into this week with a mark of 3-6 in the Big West. They have compiled a home record of 3-9 with wins over Sacramento State, San Francisco and Saint Mary's at Dobbins Stadium. UC Davis took two of three against Long Beach State and one game from UC Irvine, all on the road in Big West Play. The Aggies dropped a 13-1 decision at home against San Jose State on Tuesday in a non-conference game.

UC Davis is led offensively by Brett Morgan, who owns a .306 batting average with eight doubles, a homerun and six RBI in 28 starts. Morgan has an on-base percentage of .374 and leads the team with eight steals. David Popkins has appeared in every game and has started all but one, amassing a .302 batting average and driving in 13 runs.

On the mound for UC Davis, Anthony Kupbens has been the statistical leader with a 3-5 record and a 2.35 ERA. He leads the staff with 47 strikeouts and has only walked 16 in 65.0 innings of work this year. Dayne Quist has started seven games on the hill and has a 1-4 record with a 5.12 ERA in 51.0 innings. As a whole, opponents are hitting .272 off of Aggie pitchers in 2011.

Results from Last Week

The Matadors played their first Big West series at home last weekend, after playing the first six conference games on the road. Northridge took on Pacific in a series that started on Thursday at Matador Field instead of Friday due to the Easter holiday. The three-game series was dominated by offense, as the two teams combined for 97 hits on the weekend.

On Thursday, the Matadors came away with a 13-6 victory for their first conference win of the season. Ridge Carpenter and Kyle Attl each went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI, Marty Bowen drove in a pair of runs on three hits and Drew Muren doubled twice and singled once in the victory. The Northridge defense turned two inning-ending double plays with the bases loaded to preserve the win.

On Friday, the hitting continued but the pitching picked up for both sides as the Tigers took a 4-3 decision. Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Tommy Simis connected for a three-run homerun with no outs but the Matadors could not finish the rally. Alex Muren pitched 3.0 scoreless innings in relief to set up the potential comeback.

The finale was a near-historic game for the Matadors as Northridge and Pacific combined for 42 hits, five shy of the school's all-time record of 47 set against BYU in 1996. The Matadors held a 7-2 lead before Pacific put together an 8-run fourth inning. The see-saw battle continued as Northridge regained the lead at 11-10 before eventually falling 13-11.

In a non-conference game at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, the Matadors lost a close game 6-4 as the Gauchos scored twice in the seventh and twice in the eighth to rally past the Matadors. Steven Keller went 2-for-3 with two RBI in the loss.

Winning the Arms Race

The Matadors have been able to win close games as of late thanks in large part to the defense. Whether they are turning timely double plays or throwing out runners on the basepaths, the Matadors are sending a message to opponents and the rest of the conference. In a 2-1 victory over Loyola Marymount on March 27, Northridge threw out a runner at second base, third base, and two at the plate. In the tops of the fourth and fifth innings, ground balls to shortstop Kyle Attl resulted in runners out at home as he fired to catcher Steven Keller twice to keep runs off the board. Adam Barry cut down a runner at second base from left field and Nate Ring threw out a batter trying to stretch a double into a triple. In the 2-1 victory on the road against Bakersfield on April 10, both Andrew Muren and Nate Ring threw out runners at the plate to preserve the lead; Ring fired home to cut down the runner trying to tie the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Making History

With the Matadors' 10-5 victory over the Sacramento State Hornets on March 19, Cal State Northridge won its 1,500th game on the baseball diamond. The program began play in 1959 as San Fernando Valley State College and began its inaugural season 0-7 before winning for the first time in school history against UC Riverside 7-5 at Matador Field. Now in its 53rd season, Cal State Northridge baseball has won 12 conference titles, the first in 1965 (California Collegiate Athletic Association) and the most recent in 2002 (Big West Conference), and two NCAA Division II National Championships (1970 and 1984).

First Impressions

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.

Survey Says...

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.

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