Baseball: CSUN looks for hot hitting to continue vs. LBSU

CSUN+outfielder+Miles+Williams+waits+for+a+pitch+during+a+game+against+Bakersfield+Tuesday.+The+Matadors+start+a+series+against+LBSU+Friday.+Photo+credit%3A+Samuel+Albarran+%2F+Contributor

CSUN outfielder Miles Williams waits for a pitch during a game against Bakersfield Tuesday. The Matadors start a series against LBSU Friday. Photo credit: Samuel Albarran / Contributor

Jonathan Andrade

CSUN outfielder Miles Williams waits for a pitch during a game against Bakersfield Tuesday. The Matadors start a series against LBSU Friday. Photo credit: Samuel Albarran / Contributor

CSUN’s bats are hot after a 5-2 non-conference victory over CSU Bakersfield Tuesday.

CSUN (17-20, 4-5 Big West) will need the hot hitting to continue if it plans on scoring runs against the Dirtbags, who notched their second shutout of 2012 in their last outing at USC.

Long Beach State (19-19, 9-3) has used its pitching to earn six consecutive series victories and travels to Northridge for a three-game series this weekend.

LSBU has three starting pitchers with ERAs below 3.00.

Senior Shawn Stuart leads LBSU with a 2.28 ERA and is a perfect 5-0 this season with nine starts under his belt.

Stuart has gone the distance once and only allowed 44 hits in 59.1 innings of work. Stuart has used his control on the mound to fan 49 batters faced and only walked 20 batters this season.

CSUN should also expect to see junior Matt Anderson and sophomore Ryan Strufing as each have made 10 starts apiece for the Dirtbags in 2012. The pair have combined for a 7-4 record and have 118 innings between the two.

If Long Beach has the edge on the scoreboard in the closing innings, the Matadors will surely see LBSU closer Kyle Friedrichs, who has already compiled seven saves out of the bullpen and has a 1.42 ERA in 19 appearances.

LBSU’s offense hasn’t shown as much pop as CSUN’s, but it has the hitters to put runs on the board.

Senior outfielder Brennan Metzger leads the Long Beach squad in batting average (.298), hits (39) and slugging (.412). He also has the only home run LBSU has hit this season.

Metzger has also stolen a team-high nine bases in 12 attempts.

The rest of the LBSU offense has gathered 38 extra-base hits in 2012 and while they’ve been out-hit by opposing bats, they could still pose a problem for the inconsistent CSUN staff.

On the mound for CSUN, freshman Jerry Keel and Alex Muren have been tough to hit against and will both see starts against the Dirtbags.

Keel continues to lead the team with his 2.01 ERA and has only surrendered 49 hits in 53.2 innings on the mound.

Muren pitched deep into games started with two complete games this season, but should be able to depend on his bullpen this weekend.

Sophomore Harley Holt has been effective in his last outings while redshirt freshman Louis Cohen has proven he can hold leads in the latter innings of ball games.

If the bullpen provides solid innings of relief, the offense could provide run support with its newfound power.

Against CSU Bakersfield, senior Steven Keller and juniors Marty Bowen and Kyle Attl all homered to give CSUN the victory.

Attl now has four dingers this season, one behind team-leader, sophomore Miles Williams. Attl has also hit safely in five of his last six games and homered in two of his last three.

Williams has been struggling at the dish with 44 strikeouts this season, but has the power to drive any ball over the Matador Field fences.