With all of the success of Cal State Northridge’s mens basketball team this year, many of the other sports programs have been overlooked. The Talent on the Baseball diamond for the Matadors was apparent during the recent Major League Baseball Draft.
The professional dreams of four Matador student-athletes took one step closer toward becoming a reality as pitcher Brian Slover, outfielder/first baseman Richard Cates, outfielder Jeff Pruitt, and pitcher Ryan McCarney were selected during the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft
With the 250th pick in the eighth round, the Toronto Blue Jays selected redshirt sophomore Slover. Slover, the primary reliever for the Matadors, led the staff with his team-low ERA of 1.39 as he crafted a 4-5 overall record in his 29 appearances last season. The Covina, Calif. native was a member of the 2009 All-Big West Conference Second Team as a relief pitcher.
One of four members of the Matadors’ senior class, outfielder/first baseman Cates was chosen in the 21st round with pick number 651 by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The two-time All-Big West Conference honoree led the team in a variety of offensive categories including batting average (.374), on-base-percentage (.456), at-bats (222), hits (83), and runs (44). Originally from Yuba City, Calif., Cates finished the season with two home runs and 28 RBI’s, and tied for the second-highest number of stolen bases with seven.
Pruitt, a redshirt sophomore from Granada Hills, Calif. was the third Matador selected during the second day of the draft as the Chicago Cubs selected the outfielder in the 23rd round with the 710th pick. Pruitt is a graduate from Alemany High School in Mission Hills. In addition to a number of highlight-quality plays turned by the centerfielder throughout the season, Pruitt finished 2009 batting .212 with 38 hits, and led the team with 24 stolen bases and four doubles.
McCarney, a junior-transfer from Acton, Calif. was selected with the 1,009th pick in the 33rd round by the Tampa Bay Rays. In his inaugural season at Northridge after transferring from College of the Canyons, McCarney led the team with team-record nine pickoffs, struckout 41 batters in his 49.2 inning= pitched, finishing with a 1-4 record and a 5.26 ERA.
Baseball fans can view each and every pick by visiting http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2009/drafttracker.jsp as all 1,521 selections can be organized by team, player name, round or position.