CSUN Preview: Pitching

Northridge started off the season pitching well and allowed 4 R's or less in 7 of the first 8 games but has struggled since then and allowed 6+ R's in 15 of the last 22 games.

 Northridge is 6th in the conf with a 5.44 ERA, 5th in the conf with a .291 opponents BA and has allowed the most HR's in the conf with 27.  One interesting thing to note about the pitching staff of the Matadors is they will throw over to 1B often to hold runners because they lead the conf with 17 runners picked off (more than the next three teams combined) but have also committed 7 balks.

Starters

Northridge's rotation has been shuffled around quite a bit all season due to the lack of consistency from the SP's after they pitched well in the first couple of weeks.  The three SP's in the first two conf series were Soph Ryan Juarez (RHP – 4-2, 5.80 ERA, 7 starts, 40 IP, 49 H,12 BB, 21 K, .301 BA, 5 HR), JC transfer Ryan McCarney (RHP – 0-2, 5.49 ERA, 9 apps, 6 starts, 39 IP, 45 H, 18 BB, 30 K, .290 BA, 5 HR) and JR Billy Ott (RHP – 1-1, 6.43 ERA, 9 apps, 3 starts, 2 saves, 35 IP, 40 H, 13 BB, 24 K, .294 BA, 4 HR). 

Juarez pitched well against UCSB (8 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER) but was knocked out early at Cal Poly (2 2/3 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 ER).  He had wins against Pepperdine and Texas Tech but was hit hard by Nebraska.  Juarez allowed 7 R's on 8 H's in 4 2/3 IP in 2 apps at Fullerton last season. 

McCarney pitched well against UCSB (6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R) but didn't make it out of the 1st inning at Cal Poly (2/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R).  He was effective against Pepperdine and San Jose State but was hit hard by Nebraska.  McCarney has picked off 7 runners so that will be something to watch when he is on the mound. 

Ott pitched five innings in both conf starts, allowing 12 R's on 18 H's.  He had several good outings out of the bullpen in middle relief before being moved into the rotation.  Ott allowed 3 R's in 1 IP at Fullerton last season. 

If Northridge were to make a change in their rotation, one of the candidates would be FR Bryan Harper (LHP – 0-3, 7.59 ERA, 7 apps, 6 starts, 21 IP, 31 H, 16 BB, 8 K, .369 BA, 4 HR), who was replaced in the rotation by Ott a couple of weeks ago. 

Relievers

Because Northridge's SP's have usually not been getting deep into games, the relievers have gotten quite a bit of work and were a big reason why Northridge was able to win the series against UCSB and take Cal Poly to extra innings twice.

Closer Soph Brian Slover (RHP – 1-3, 0.37 ERA, 3 saves, 14 apps, 24 IP, 14 H, 9 BB, 30 K, .167 BA, 1 HR) has easily been Northridge's most effective pitcher and is the hardest thrower on the staff.  He threw three scoreless innings in two apps against UCSB and had been pitching with very good control before giving up 6 BB's in 3 2/3 IP in two apps against a very patient Cal Poly team and allowed unearned runs in extra innings in the first two losses.

Northridge has been getting effective work from a couple of middle relievers to help the Matadors get the ball to Slover late in games.  SR P.J. Rousey (RHP – 0-0, 1.74 ERA, 12 apps, 10 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 7 K, .205 BA, 0 HR) and FR Justen Gorski (1-1, 3.21 ERA, 7 apps, 14 IP, 16 H, 4 BB, 8 K, .271 BA, 0 HR) have been solid in the middle innings and have combined to allow only one extra base hit in 26 1/3 IP.  Rousey allowed 3 R's without recording an out in last year's 17-15 slugfest.

Other relievers who could see action this weekend are JR's Jimmy Jolicoeur (RHP – 2-3, 6.86 ERA, 13 apps, 2 saves, 21 IP, 25 H, 4 BB, 22 K, .305 BA, 2 HR) and Davin Tate (RHP – 0-0, 7.41 ERA, 4 apps, 2 starts, 7 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 7 K, .303 BA, 0 HR), Soph Paul Tremlin (RHP – 3-1, 6.35 ERA, 10 apps, 2 starts, 23 IP, 30 H, 6 BB, 23 K, .313 BA, 2 HR) and JC transfer Bryan Longpre (RHP – 0-1, 10.22 ERA, 6 apps, 3 starts, 12 IP, 17 H, 7 BB, 5 K, .321 BA, 2 HR).  Jolicoeur was previously a starter and had an effective outing against Fullerton in 2007 (7 IP, 1 R, 4 H) but has had arm problems the previous two seasons and been limited to pitching out of the bullpen this year.  Tremlin allowed 2 R's in 2 IP in two apps at Fullerton last year.

The LHP's on the pitching staff besides Harper are SR Bryce Schoening (0-0, 8.44 ERA, 7 apps, 5 1/3 IP, 10 H, 0 BB, 4 K), Soph Taylor Austin (2 apps, 3 IP, 2 R's) and Soph Peter Mendez (6 apps, 2 2/3 IP, 0 R), who has not pitched in the last three weeks.