NORTHRIDGE – CSUN Baseball (21-25) opens up its final homestand of the season this week at Matador Field. The Matadors kick off the four-game stretch with a Tuesday midweek contest against Fresno State at 3 p.m. The game will stream live on the CSUN Sports Network with Ross Porter on the call. Coverage will start at 2:45 p.m., and links to live stats, video and audio can be found on the baseball schedule page at GoMatadors.com.
In the Big West standings, the Matadors (9-9) are tied with Hawai’i for fourth place in the league. A half game ahead of the Matadors, UC Irvine (8-7) and Cal Poly (8-7) are in second place while Cal State Fullerton paces the conference with a 12-3 mark. In sixth place are UC Santa Barbara (7-8) and Long Beach State (7-8) followed by UC Davis (7-11) in eighth and UC Riverside (5-10) in ninth.
The Matadors completed a winning seven-game road trip (4-3) with a series victory over UC Santa Barbara over the weekend. The Matadors took the opener, 6-4, behind a complete game victory from Walker Armstrong who yielded four runs and struck out seven batters. The Gauchos responded with a 12-0 win in the middle game of the series but CSUN took the series on Sunday with a 12-inning 6-3 win. Albee Weiss hammered a go-ahead three-run home run in the extra innings, which proved to be the difference maker.
On the offensive side, Alvaro Rubalcaba went 5-for-13 (.385) against UCSB while Kevin Riley and Trevor Casanova each hit .333 (4-for-12) in the three games. CSUN’s bullpen allowed no earned runs in the finale of the series in eight combined innings led by Tei Vanderford who worked 4.2 innings and struck out five.
Weiss continued to move up the Matador all-time ranks last weekend after his extra inning power display. Overall, Weiss is fourth in Matador history with 38 career home runs, however he is in second place in the team’s Division I era, behind only Adam Kennedy’s (1995-97) 51 home runs. With one more home run, Weiss will move into the Big West’s all-time career Top 10 list. In addition, Weiss is eighth in team history with 143 RBI and ninth in at bats with 752.
Casanova leads the Big West in batting average (.377) and hits (66) while he tied for first in doubles (15), second in runs scored (36), third in slugging percentage (.537) and fourth in on-base percentage (.436). Seventh in the nation in homers, Weiss leads the conference in home runs and RBI, and is tied for the top spot in slugging percentage (.600). Also leading the conference, Justin Toerner is first in triples (6) and Joey Cooper is tops in hit by pitch (19).
Dating back to 1961, Fresno State leads the all-time series with the Matadors 57-28. The teams split two midweek meetings in Fresno last month. The Matadors hammered the Bulldogs 15-2 on April 10 but Fresno State bounced back with an 8-2 win on April 24. This season, Albee Weiss is 5-for-10 against the Bulldogs with two RBI and two runs. Brandon Bohning is also hitting .500 (5-for-10) in the season series to go with three RBI. On the pitching side, Andrew Weston has worked four innings in the two meetings and has allowed no runs on three hits with five strikeouts. Fresno State won the team’s last meeting at Matador Field in 2007 by the final of 7-6.
Following Tuesday’s non-conference contest, the Matadors will host UC Davis in their final home series this season. CSUN opens up the series on Friday at 3 p.m. and will continue with a 2 p.m. match up on Saturday. The team’s home finale and Senior Day is set for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
A Closer Look at Fresno State
The Bulldogs come in with a 26-21 record and an 11-16 mark in Mountain West Conference play. Last weekend, the Bulldogs were swept at Nevada but the last two games were decided by one run each day. As a team, the Bulldogs are hitting .299 at the plate and have collected 45 home runs. Fresno State is 20th in the nation with 39 sacrifice hits.
In 68 at bats, senior Torin Goldstein is hitting .426 with 17 RBI and a .544 slugging percentage. Fourth in the Mountain West in batting, junior Zach Ashford is hitting .369 with 31 runs, 24 RBI, 17 doubles and two home runs. Sophomore Carter Bins and junior Jeremiah Burks have a team-high seven home runs apiece as Bins has driven in 39 runs and stroked 18 doubles while Burks has racked up 32 RBI and 31 runs. On the pitching side, Fresno State is posting a 5.08 ERA along with 406 strikeouts.