NORTHRIDGE – CSUN Baseball (9-7) concludes a three-game homestand on Wednesday afternoon against No. 11 UCLA at 2:00 p.m. The game will be aired live on the CSUN Sports Network presented by Dignity Health with Ross Porter on the call. Live stats, audio and video links can all be found on the baseball schedule page at GoMatadors.com.
Inclement weather has led to schedule adjustments over the past week for the Matadors. CSUN had its game at Pepperdine washed out on Saturday, leading to a doubleheader at Matador Field on Sunday. The Matadors and Bruins were also forced to move their originally scheduled Tuesday game to Wednesday because of the threat of rain during the afternoon.
Last weekend, CSUN dropped two of three games to Pepperdine. The Waves took the opener 6-1 on Friday in Malibu, and won the first of a Sunday doubleheader 3-2. Pepperdine’s starters allowed three runs over 12.2 innings of work in the first two games of the series. The Matadors’ offense though broke out for four home runs in an 8-4 victory in game two of the twin bill on Sunday.
Trevor Casanova and Justin Toerner have collected four hits apiece in the series as Casanova drove in two runs and hit a home run while Toerner collected five RBI along with a homer. Albee Weiss also hit his ninth home run of the season on Sunday. Matt Acosta earned his team-leading third win of the season by tossing 6.0 innings and allowing two earned runs.
Weiss’ nine home runs are tied with NC State’s Brett Kinneman and California’s Andrew Vaughn for the most home runs in the nation. He has also moved into a three-way tie for 10th place on the Matadors’ career home run list. Weiss is tied for 10th with Michael Paulk (2003-05) and Jason Shanahan (1992-95) while the Matador slugger is one away from tying Ryan Pineda (2008-10) for ninth place.
As a team, the Matadors are still in the Top 10 in a number of offensive categories across all of Division I baseball. CSUN is second in slugging percentage (.580) and home runs (32), sixth in hits (190), eighth in batting average (.327) and 10th in runs scored (139). Weiss is also third in the nation in RBI with 26.
In the Big West, the Matadors are still first in runs, hits, doubles (38), triples (6), home runs, runs batted in (134), extra base hits (77), total bases (337), batting average, on-base percentage (.406) and slugging percentage.
The Matadors will send senior right hander Hayden Shenefield against UCLA. Shenefield (1-0) has made six appearances and two starts this season. He has logged 7.0 innings and struck out five batters to go with an 11.57 ERA.
CSUN is 40-42-1 all time against UCLA. The Bruins have won six of the last 10 meetings but the Matadors are 3-1 over the last four contests. The teams split the season series in 2017, as the Matadors posted a 6-5 victory at Matador Field and UCLA collected a win at Jackie Robinson Stadium 7-2. Alvaro Rubalcaba went 3-for-5 against UCLA last season while Nolan Bumstead drove in four runs and hit .333 (2-for-6).
A Closer Look at UCLA
The Bruins are ranked 11th according to Baseball America, and come into the week with a 10-4 record. UCLA went 0-2 in last week’s Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic as the Bruins fell to Vanderbilt 6-3 and USC 3-2. The teams boasts a 38 RPI as of March 12. Last season, UCLA went 30-27 and advanced to the NCAA Regionals in Long Beach where the team went 0-2.
Sophomore first baseman Michael Toglia leads the team with a .431 batting average to go with 16 walks, 13 runs, 13 RBI and four home runs. Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Ydens is the team leader in runs scored (14) while he has batted .314 with six RBI. A third sophomore, Chase Strumpf is tops on the team in RBI with 18 to go along with three home runs. On the mound, sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Garcia (2-0, 1.42 ERA) comes into his start against the Matadors with a team-best 23 strikeouts. UCLA is ranked third in the nation in fielding percentage (.987) and fourth in ERA (2.03).