The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Baseball team prepares for breakout season

Daily Sundial

It had been nearly eight months since the Cal State Northridge baseball team played their last regular season game, but the Matadors kept busy during the off-season and will try to bounce back from their disappointing 18-36-1 record from last season.

The Matadors finished last in the Big West Conference in 2005, but are coming into the 2006 season with a positive attitude. The Matadors and their fourth-year head coach Steve Rousey set their goals for this season. CSUN hopes to compete for a Big West title once conference play begins.

Rousey’s focus will be on defense, especially pitching. Pitching is the name of the game, he said.

CSUN comes into this season as underdogs, receiving only eight votes in the 2006 preseason Big West Coaches poll.

“(The poll) doesn’t affect me one way or another,” Rousey said. “A lot of new guys, a lot of returned players that have improved, in my view we’ve got an entirely different team.”

The 2006 Matadors roster includes 13 returning players from last year’s team as well as 25 new players. The new additions consist of six Division I transfers, eight junior college transfers, nine freshmen, two of which are redshirting.

Among the returning players are junior Craig Baker and senior Jimmy Brettl, who are pitchers. Senior Eric Hagstrom and sophomore Rodney McMahon. anchor the infield, and outfielder junior Jonny Coit who leads the outfield.

The lineup has undergone changes with the new players making up a portion of the starting lineup. Newcomers include sophomore pitcher Chuckie Fick, junior catcher Steve Lemmon, junior infielders Alex Bardeguez and Jonathon Sakurai, and sophomore outfielder Brett Blumenthal.

Through preseason, Rousey said the only weakness is the lack of experience

The returning players have also taken notice to the new players’ abilities.

After losing four of their .300 batting average hitters from last year, the Matadors will need all the help they can get from the new players.

Senior infielder Erik Hagstrom said the pitching and defense have improved and the new players will contribute.

CSUN has a difficult schedule facing three of Collegiate Baseball’s top 25 teams, including conference rivals Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State.

After opening up a three-game series against No. 12 Arizona State last weekend, the Matadors return home for the entire month of February for a 14 game home-stand.

The Matadors open up their home-stand with a three-game series against Nevada starting on Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. During the home stand, the Matadors will also face New Orleans, Washington, UC Riverside, and the University of British Columbia in an exhibition game. CSUN’s next road game will be at Oklahoma State on March 3rd.

After their road trip, the Matadors play seven more games before beginning confrence play at the end of March. CSUN will play 21 conference games against seven other Big West schools including Cal State Fullerton, who is favored to win the Big West. Cal State Fullerton received 63 votes in the 2006 preseason Big West Coaches poll and were ranked No. 9 by Collegiate Baseball. Other conference match-ups include Long Beach State, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, and Pacific.

The Matadors have begun assembling the 2007 squad starting with their pitching staff. Five players were signed during the first signing period in December. High school players Jeffrey Pruitt, Davin Tate and junior college players Mark Haderlein, Philip Hann, and Josh Herback-South will all be eligible to play for CSUN next year.

Haderlein, currently playing for Orange Coast College in Irvine, participated in the 2005 JC All-Star Game. He posted a 5-0 record in 37 two thirds innings and one save.

Hann was named Western State Conference Freshman of the Year in 2005 with a 2-2 record and a 3.57 ERA at Ventura College.

Rousey believes all five additions will make improvements.

“The junior college additions performed well on that level and on winning teams, Rousey said. “The two freshmen are future big-leaguers.”

Victor Flores can be reached at

More to Discover