Northridge Faces USC In Non-Conference Action This Weekend

May 7, 2009

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Having already faced one another on April 7 at Dedeaux Field, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (18-29) will look to avenge their one-run loss this weekend during the two-game series taking place at Matador Field.

THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Saturday, May 9 • Northridge vs. USC Trojans • Matador Field • Northridge, Calif. • 1:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker/Radio

Sunday, May 10 • Northridge vs. USC Trojans • Matador Field • Northridge, Calif. • 1:00 p.m. PDT • Gametracker/Radio

ON THE MOUND

Saturday • RHP Ryan Juarez (4-5, 4.96)  vs. RHP Brad Boxberger

Sunday • RHP Billy Ott (1-4, 5.57) vs. RHP Robert Stock

MATADORS VS. USC

Coming off a 5-0 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs Tuesday evening, the USC Trojans (22-23) will make their first visit to Matador Field since 1999 for a two-game, weekend series against the Matadors.

USC is currently in seventh position within the Pac-10 Conference with their 10-11 record, trailing Arizona State who currently sits atop the standings with their 16-4 conference record.

Having already faced one another earlier in the season at Dedeaux Field on April 7, the Matadors fell into an early 3-1 hole after the first inning and fought their way to an eventual 8-7 defeat after nearly erasing a three-run deficit in the later innings.

Infielder Grant Green currently leads the Trojans with his .363 average and 13 stolen bases out of 20 attempts with LHP/OF Anthony Vasquez (the only Trojan who has started and played in every game this season) and 3B/RHP Ricky Oropesa trailing Green with their respective .317 averages.

Oropesa has been the most dangerous offensive weapon this season for Head Coach Chad Kreuger as he leads the team with his 11 home runs and 38 RBI's.

Both Trojan starters this weekend, RHP Brad Boxberger and RHP Robert Stock anchor a starting rotation with their respective ERA's of 2.34 and 2.76 and a combined seven victories between them.

Stock also doubles as the USC's main reliever as he has earned four of the eight saves this season for the Trojans. Having allowed only 15 earned runs in 57.2 innings pitched, Stock is scheduled to take the mound and start for Kreuger in Sunday's match-up.

Boxberger, only one of two pitchers with a winning record so far this season for USC, has been equally stingy to his opponents having given up 24 earned runs in his 78.1 innings pitched, leading the way for his team with 84 strikeouts, nearly one-fourth of the team's total in 2009.

It will be important for the Matadors to jump out to an early lead if they look to emerge victorious against the Trojans as USC possesses a 16-6 record whenever they score first. Conversely, their record is almost the exact opposite whenever Trojan opponents are able to score first as USC has compiled a 6-17 record whenever they initially trail on the scoreboard.

GOTCHA!

With 47 games in the books, the Matadors have picked-off 27 runners this season, the highest number of pickoffs thrown this decade, and Matador all-time record. Currently leading the team with nine pickoffs, RHP Ryan "China" McCarney has caught more runners from the mound than any other Matador pitcher this decade, and has more pickoffs in his first eight appearances than the team leaders during the last two years combined.

McCarney is not the only Matador who has been successful at keeping opposing base-runners on their toes as catcher John Parham has successfully picked-off five runners of his own this season, equaling his total from the three previous seasons combined.

YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST

On April 29 at UNLV, RHP/1B Brian Slover hit his first career home run as a Matador in CSUN's 8-2 victory in Las Vegas. The designated hitter swung at the first pitch thrown his way by Rebel reliever Matt Hutchison and blasted his pitch over an 80-foot light-tower residing on the opposite side of the wall in left field to add another three RBI's to his total this season.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

For two Matadors, the team's recent road trip to Las Vegas doubled as a homecoming of sorts as right-fielder Ryan Pineda and Bryan Harper returned to their hometown for two days. Pineda, a sophomore, and Harper, a freshmen are from Las Vegas having graduated from Bonanza High School and Las Vegas High School respectively.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Pineda earned four letters for the Bengals, earned First-Team All-City as a senior and Second-Team as a junior, and during his senior season, he batted .400 with three home runs, 19 doubles, eight triples, 30 RBI, and 15 stolen bases.

Harper graduated with a 4.1 GPA, ran on the cross-country team for two seasons, and competed as a member of Sam Thomas' baseball team as a LHP/OF all four years. During his junior season he received First Team All-Region, First Team All-State, and Northeast Division Player of the Year Honors, and received First Team All-Region and First Team All-State honors during his senior year.

THESE GUYS WERE GAME

Both Jason Dabbs and Tommy Simis turned in their best performances as a Matador on April 21st in CSUN's come-from-behind 11th-inning victory over the Pepperdine Waves. Dabbs finished the day with a 5-for-5 performance as he hit his fourth double of the season, drove in three runs, and scored once in the process. Dabbs would have had an opportunity to tie the Matador single game record for hits, a mark held by Alberto Quintana and Adam Kennedy had the Waves not intentionally walked the shortstop in the bottom of the eleventh.

In that same game, Simis went 2-for-4, but drove in four RBI's, nearly half of the Matador offense. The second baseman is the second Matador to drive in four runs this season as first baseman Dominic D'Anna has also accomplished the feat on two separate occasions vs. UNLV (4/1) and vs. Cal State Fullerton (4/21) to set the individual game high mark in this category.

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS

With the Big West season nearing the mid-way point of the season, a number of Matadors find themselves within the top ten marks amongst their peers, with the team itself ranked in the top-half of the conference in a variety of categories as noted below as of May 4.

Team Earned Run Average: 5.14 - 5th

Team Innings Pitched: 422.0 - 1st

Team Batters Struck Out: 303 - 4th

Team Saves: 9 - 4th

Team Runners Picked Off: 27 - 1st

Batting Average: Richard Cates, .366 - 7th

Slugging Percentage: Dominic D'Anna, .580 - 4th

Hits: Richard Cates, 70 - T-1st

Doubles: Dominic D'Anna, 13 - 9th

Triples: Jeff Pruitt, 3 - T-6th

Home Runs: Ryan Pineda, 9 - T-1st; Dominic D'Anna, 7 - T-7th

Walks: Jeff Pruitt, 24 - T-5th

Hit-By-Pitch: John Parham, 10 - T-6th

Stolen Bases: Jeff Pruitt, 22 - 2nd

Saves: Brian Slover, 5 - 4th

Appearances: Brian Slover, 21 - T-8th

Games Finished: Brian Slover, 18 - 2nd

Runners Picked Off: Ryan McCarney, 9 - 1st; John Parham, 5 - 2nd; Billy Ott, 4 - T-3nd

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 12-3 on the season whenever they possess the lead after four innings, and hold a 12-4 record when leading after the third.

BUT IF YOU'R STUCK IN TRAFFIC...

Whenever the Matadors possess the lead, after three innings of play, opposing teams have had little success digging themselves out the their own deficit as Northridge has created the following records this season when leading after...

four innings: 12-3 five innings: 12-4 six innings: 12-1 seven innings: 12-1 eight innings: 14-0

HOT BATS = HAPPY TEAM

On seventeen occasions this season, the Cal State Northridge Matadors have out-hit their opponents, winning thirteen times for a .824 winning percentage.

READY TO GO

Of the 233 runs scored by the Cal State Northridge Matadors this season as of 5/6, over 20 percent (24.8%) of their offense has taken place in the first two innings this season. CSUN currently has a record of 6-4 when leading after the first inning, and 10-3 when leading after two frames, but only a 3-11 and 2-16 mark when trailing after the first and second innings respectively.

THE YIN AND YANG OF A BALLGAME

In their game on 4/21 at home against Pepperdine, the Cal State Northridge Matadors came-from-behind to defeat the Waves in the 11th inning by a score of 9-8. Even more remarkable about the Matador's performance was the fact that they committed eight errors, a new school record in the process besting the previous mark of six that took place on six different occasions, most recently at UC Irvine on March 7, 2007.

GOOD FROM START TO FINISH

In the Matador's game on April 17th at Long Beach State, RHP Ryan Juarez picked up CSUN's first complete game of the season with this 8.0 inning performance against the 49ers. In that game, Juarez only allowed six hits and zero earned runs, picking up the team's first complete game effort since Edwin Quirarte's effort at UC Santa Barbara on April 30, 2006. Nine days later, RHP Billy Ott became the first pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game when he faced the UC Riverside Highlanders at Matador Field on April 26.

MAKING A NAME BOTH ON AND OFF THE FIELD

Matador third baseman Ryan Pineda was one of two student-athletes recognized by the Big West Conference for their success both on the diamond, and in the classroom.

Joining Pineda was Matador Softball first baseman Jaclyn Rymer as the duo joined 16 of their peers and were honored as Big West Conference Student Athletes. Pineda burst onto the collegiate baseball scene in his first season with the Matadors, earning 2008 Big West Freshman Player of the Year and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors.

Heavily involved in his community, he is a church choir member and volunteer and read to kids at libraries and schools during the summer. A marketing and management major, Pineda posted the team's third-highest batting average, led the team in runs with 38 and tied for the team lead in hits with 72. He one day hopes to play professional baseball or work as an economist in business or government.

NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON'T

On April 18th at Long Beach State, Matador centerfielder Jeff Pruitt stole two bases, bring his overall total on the season to a team-leading 23. That game also marked the seventh occasion of the season where Pruitt stole multiple bases in one game. Even more remarkable about his total, Pruitt has only been caught stealing on two occasions which took place on March 1st at home against the Texas Tech Red Raiders and at Long Beach State on April 19th. The Matador single-season record for most stolen bases in a season is held by Bob Slater when he stole 31 bases during the 1976 season.

IT'S A HIT!

On March 28th against UCSB, Ryan Pineda's four-hit performance by was the 11th time this season that Pineda had a multiple-hit game, and only the second Matador on the season to record four hits in one afternoon. Richard Cates, the team leader in multi-hit games with 12, went 4-for-5 in CSUN's 8-4 victory against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on February 27th; both four-hit occasions have taken place at Matador Field this season. First baseman Dominic D'Anna is the only Matadors with a double-digit total of multiple hit games with 10 so far this season.

THREE FOR FREE = THANK YOU!

Matador baseball fans were given an opportunity to receive free admission to the final game against the UCSB Gauchos March 29th by donating three canned food or non-perishable items for a canned food drive to benefit the Children's Hunger Fund, and responded in-kind by donating nearly a quarter-of-a-ton of food in conjunction with the Matador softball team who provided the same opportunity in their game against Pacific. The Cal State Northridge Athletic Department and baseball team would like to thank all fans who donated to help out children in need. For additional information about the Children's Hunger Fund visit their website at www.chfus.org.

TWO OF A KIND

On March 27th in a game against UC Santa Barbara, right-fielder Ryan Pineda and first baseman Dominic D'Anna hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. This was the second time this season that the Matadors have hit back-to-back home runs, with the first occasion taking place on March 21st in the second game of a doubleheader at home against Columbia from Justin DeMarco and Todd Eskelin.

MIKE FRICK SCHOLARSHIP

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.

SWEET 16

Before being held without a hit in the Matadors game vs. BYU on March 17th, third baseman Ryan Pineda hit safely in the first sixteen games of the season. That streak still stands as the longest hit streak compiled by any Matador this season.

BRING OUT THE BROOMS

The Matadors completed the weekend sweep over the visiting Texas Tech Red Raiders as a two-run performance in the bottom of the ninth inning capped off the come-from-behind effort for CSUN. Matador starting pitcher Bryan Harper hand another strong performance on the bump for CSUN as he pitched 6.1 innings, allowed zero earned runs on five hits and struck out four batters for his second straight no-decision. Jimmy Jolicoeur itched 2.2 innings in relief and earned his first victory of the season as he allowed zero runs and only one hit, fanning six of the nine batters faced to help the Matadors earn their first series sweep since 2006 against the Cal Poly Mustangs.

CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE BALLPARK?

Matador baseball fans who are unable to head out to Matador Field or travel with the team on the road can still follow all the action via Gametracker. Gametracker is an online program provided by CSTV and Cal State Northridge which enables fans to watch every Matador baseball game unfold on a play-by-play basis. Visit goMatadors.com and click on the `GT' logo on the schedule of events either on the main page or Baseball home page, and cheer on your Matadors.

LOS ANGELES SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS

Matador broadcaster Dave Caldwell, the current voice of the Women's Basketball and Baseball teams was honored in the February 27th edition of the Daily News as they ranked the best and worst sports media voices in Los Angeles and the surrounding environs. The paper ranked Caldwell at #10, tied with Al Epstein, voice of the Pepperdine Waves Men's Basketball team for the last 24 years.

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