NORTHRIDGE – CSUN Baseball (13-15) resumes Big West play this weekend at UC Riverside in a three-game set. The series will start Friday and continue on Saturday with start times set for 6:00 p.m. each day. Sunday’s series finale will start at 1:00 p.m. All three games will air live on Big West.TV.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday, April 6-Sunday, April 8
RHP Walker Armstrong (1-1, 4.01 ERA, 32 SO) vs. Trenton Toplikar (3-2, 3.79 ERA, 31 SO)
LHP Isaiah Nunez (0-0, 3.28 ERA, 24 SO) vs. Cole Percival (4-1, 2.15 ERA, 26 SO)
No starters announced for Sunday
The Matadors racked up 15 hits on Tuesday in a 10-4 triumph at Pepperdine. Riley Conlan and Albee Weiss collected three hits apiece as Conlan and Nolan Bumstead posted two RBI apiece. CSUN’s 15 hits mark the 14th time this season its registered double-digit hits. The Matadors also scored at least 10 runs in a game for the seventh time in 2018 as they hold a 7-0 record in those contests.
On the pitching side, eight Matadors saw action on the mound against Pepperdine with six tossing at least one shutout frame. Theron Kay earned his first career victory with the Matadors by tossing 1.2 hitless innings. Tei Vanderford, Hayden Shenefield, Isaiah Nunez, Blake Schriever and Jayson Newman worked clean innings on Tuesday.
Looking ahead to the weekend, the Matadors will start right hander Walker Armstrong in the opener against UC Riverside. Armstrong (1-1) sports a 4.01 ERA and a team-best 32 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. In his five starts this season, Armstrong has posted two quality starts and worked at least five innings in each game. On Saturday, left hander Isaiah Nunez (0-0) will take the hill for the Matadors as he comes in with a 3.28 ERA and 24 strikeouts. Nunez has made 15 appearances this season, working 24.2 innings. Last Thursday, Nunez scattered seven hits and gave up a run in 3.1 innings in his first start of the season versus Cal Poly.
In the nation, Weiss remains among the leaders in several power categories in all of Division I baseball. Weiss is fourth in the nation in home runs with 13 and just one off the pace of first place occupied by the trio of Illinois’ Bren Spillane, Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson and California’s Andrew Vaughn. Weiss is also sixth in RBI (38), ninth in total bases (82) and 19th in slugging percentage (.719). Trevor Casanova is also 10th in the nation in doubles with 13.
In the Big West, Brandon Bohning leads the conference in runs scored followed by Joey Cooper (24) in second place and Casanova and Weiss (23) in third. Weiss leads the Big West in home runs while Bumstead, Casanova, Cooper and Justin Toerner are all tied for third in the category. In fact, seven Matadors are in the conference’s Top 10 in runs scored and home runs. Casanova also leads the league in hits (42) and doubles (13), and he is second in batting average (.385). Bumstead is third in the Big West in batting average with a .354 clip.
The Matadors lead the Highlanders in the all-time series 117-92 after sweeping last season’s series at Matador Field. CSUN outscored UCR 23-7 in the series as Weiss went 6-for-13 (.462) with two home runs, four RBI and three runs scored. In his career, Weiss is hitting .458 (11-for-24) against UCR with six RBI and three extra base hits. Two seasons ago, the Highlanders took two of three games at the Riverside Sports Complex. CSUN has won four of the last six series from the Highlanders but have dropped the last two on the road.
A Closer Look at UC Riverside
The Highlanders (12-11) opened Big West Conference play with a series win over UC Davis, winning two of three games. In a high-scoring series, UCR outscored the Aggies 27-22 last weekend. Holding an 8-5 record at home, the Highlanders have won seven of the last eight at the Plex. As a team, UCR is second in the Big West in home runs (16) and third in slugging percentage (.380).
In 31 at bats, junior Matt Hardy is hitting .387 with three home runs and 13 RBI. Junior Dean Miller leads the team in batting with a .318 clip to go with 15 RBI and 13 runs scored. Last week’s Big West Field Player of the Week, sophomore Connor Cannon has hit six home runs and driven in 23 runs this season. Sophomore right hander Trenton Toplikar (3-2) will start the opener against the Matadors followed by freshman right hander Cole Percival (4-1). Toplikar has a 3.79 ERA and 31 strikeouts while Percival is sporting a 2.15 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 37.2 innings.