The Matadors baseball team has gotten off to a good start in Big West Conference play and will be looking to further that success as they travel to San Luis Obispo to face Baseball America’s No. 23-ranked Cal Poly in a three-game series this weekend.
The Matadors (13-14, 2-1) are currently riding a four-game winning streak as they downed UCSB in the final two games of its conference-opening series and then swept a quick two-game series from UNLV (recap available online at www.sundial.csun.edu).
CSUN is having no problems scoring runs as guys like outfielder Richard Cates and first baseman Dominic D’Anna are batting well over .300. Cal Poly (18-7, 0-3) will also be looking to get its offense going as seven of their nine hitters are batting over .300.
The Mustangs have a guy that is particularly hot at the plate: Matt Jensen. The second baseman has a batting average of .404 and leads his team with 30 RBIs and 29 runs. Tentatively, the Matadors will send Ryan Juarez (4-2) to the mound Friday night. Billy Ott (1-1) will take the field Saturday and Ryan McCarney (0-1) will step in on Sunday.
McCarney is coming off a successful outing against UCSB in which he only gave up two earned runs in six innings.
Cal Poly opened up its Big West season by getting swept by No. 8 UC Irvine. Both Mustangs and Matadors look poised to add some wins to their respective records and the series looks to be a battle from the start.
With Friday and Saturday’s games starting at 6 p.m., the Matadors will play in their first night game of the season. Sunday’s game will start at 1 p.m.
Game 1: Friday, 6 p.m. Game 2: Saturday. 6 p.m. Game 3: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Place: Bagget Stadium, San Luis Obispo. Series: CSUN leads 108-88. Last meeting: April 6, 2008, CP 3 @ CSUN 8 Interesting fact: Cal Poly is 18-7 overall, but is one of only two Big West teams to be 0-3 in conference. The other one is UC Davis (4-17).
Matador to watch:
Ryan Pineda, infielder, sophomore
After starting out the year with a 16-game hitting streak, Pineda has calmed down at the plate while still managing to make plays when they count.’ Pineda has a knack for clutch hitting. His 27 RBIs lead the Matadors.’ Power hitting hasn’t been much of a concern this year for the sophomore slugger as he’s gone deep seven times.’ In order for CSUN to beat the Mustangs, Pineda will need to contribute at the plate.
Mustang to watch:
Matt Jensen, infielder, freshman
The Mustangs second baseman has been a big contributor behind the plate as he is batting .404 with 36 hits and 29 runs.’ CSUN’s pitching staff will have their hands full with a talented Mustang batting lineup, but Jensen in particular could cause the Matadors headaches. Jensen also leads the Mustangs in homeruns with six this season.’ In order for the Mustangs to rebound after a 0-3 Big West start, Jensen will need to make plays.
That’s what he said
Richard Cates, CSUN outfielder On the Matadors possibly getting their first road win of the season this weekend:
‘We always play really well at home. We need to take what we do at home, which is pitch and play good defense, on the road with us. We’ve struggled to do that.’ It’s really just playing good baseball.’