After a seven-game homestand which ended with a confidence-boosting 5-3 win over No. 11 East Carolina on Wednesday, Cal State Northridge (6-5) will head out to Page Stadium to face Loyola Marymount for two games on Friday and Saturday before finishing the three-game series on Sunday at Matador Field. The Matadors, who are in a two-game winning streak, have lost five consecutive games to the Lions coming into the weekend.
The last time the Matadors defeated the Lions was on March 20, 2007, when CSUN handed LMU a 9-3 loss at Matador Field. The last time the Matadors got a victory at Page Stadium was during the 2006 season, when Northridge scored a 16-9 victory over the Lions.
A recent bright spot for the Matadors has been the play of freshman catcher Marty Bowen. Bowen has recently filled in for the injured Dominic Piazza. During a Sunday loss to UConn, Bowen went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Bowen had another 2-for-4, three-RBI performance the next day in leading the Matadors to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Huskies.
That victory along with CSUN’s 7-1 win over San Diego and a 3-2 win over Pepperdine have been the only games where both offense and defense have played well in the same game so far this season.
The Matador offense has been putting up runs, but head coach Steve Rousey and the rest of the coaches have noted the Matadors’ bad habit of not driving in runners in scoring position.
On Sunday, the Matadors failed to score in the third inning despite having loaded bases and no outs.
“This team does have a problem with compounding problems,” CSUN infielder Justin DeMarco said. “But we are bridging the gap. We feel that we are an Omaha-caliber team.”
CSUN pitcher Shawn Wilyman admitted that the Matadors “might have been a little nervous” playing the Huskies on Sunday, but also added that the team has matured since the opening week.
“We’re putting it together … it’s coming together,” Wilyman said. “We are going to start winning some ball games for sure.”
The Lions come into the series with an overall record of 3-8.