Baseball team begins final stretch of season

Daily Sundial

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The CSUN baseball team hasn’t had a great season, but will try closing on a positive note as the group heads to UC Riverside and UC Davis before finishing up at home against the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara.

Neither the Matador hitting or pitching has seen remarkable seasons, but the team has had stretches of great play. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t been able to put the two together.

CSUN was scheduled to play three games against Pacific over the weekend, but to this point, when the pitching staff has been able to hold opponents to four or less runs, the Matadors are a brilliant 10-2.

However, when the pitching staff gives up nine or more runs, which has happened 20 times, CSUN is a measly 4-15-1. Likewise, when CSUN scores seven or more runs the Matadors are a very good team, going 10-3-1 in those games.

But, when the offense sputters and CSUN scores four runs or less, the team is just 2-21. CSUN’s problems this season can be traced to a few things.

One thing that stands out is the lack of team speed. The team as a whole has stolen just 11 bases, while being caught 14 times. CSUN’s opponents, by comparison, have stolen 50 bases in 74 attempts.

Something else that stands out is CSUN’s lack of power. Only seven different players have hit homeruns and the Matadors have 22 as a team, compared with the team’s opponents, who have hit 42.

But the bottom line comes down to CSUN’s not scoring more runs than its opponents. CSUN has scored 236 runs this season, but has given up 347.

CSUN’s top players have excelled, but the rest of the team has not. Michael Paulk has been the star this year. His .337 batting average ranks second on the team, while his 10 homers and 37 RBI rank high above his next closest teammate.

Paulk is the only player to play in and start every game and also leads the team with 26 walks. Beyond Paulk, Alberto Quintana has made a huge contribution.

The senior leads the team with a .345 batting average, 60 hits and 14 doubles. Erik Hagstrom is third on the team, batting .310 and Jeff Tezak is hitting .305.

John Voita is the only other player to hit more than two homeruns. His five homers, 11 doubles and 22 walks all rank second on the team, and he has committed just one error all season. Voita also has the team’s highest on-base percentage at .430.

On the mound, the Matadors have not faired much better. The team ERA (6.10) is almost two full runs higher then its opponents. Three pitchers have made the majority of CSUN’s starts, and Joe Rocchio has been the most successful.

Rocchio is 4-6 with a 4.36 ERA and a team-high 52 strikeouts. His ERA is the second best on the team behind Matt Gaylord’s 3.38.

Jimmy Brettl is 1-6 with a 5.18 ERA and the third starter, Craig Baker is 4-5 with a very high 8.02 ERA in a team-high 67 1/3 innings.

Peter Eberhardt is 4-4 on the year with a 5.01 ERA while leading the team with six saves. Kyle Jean has also seen significant action, going 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA as has Ivan Lopez who is 0-1 with an 8.87 ERA.

As poorly as CSUN has played this season (17-27-1 heading into the series against Pacific), they have a chance to finish up strong as their four remaining opponents are a combined six games below .500.