tom sanders

sports information report

Cal Poly (18-14), which opened Big West Conference play by winning two of three games against Pacific last weekend in Baggett Stadium, continues conference play this weekend, visiting Cal State Northridge (15-17, 0-3) for a three-game Big West series at Matador Field.

Friday’s game starts at 3 p.m., followed by Saturday and Sunday contests at 1 p.m. All three games will be broadcast on ESPN Radio (1280 AM) as well as on the Internet at www.GoPoly.com.

Cal State Northridge, coached by Steve Rousey (fourth season, 66-133), has three position starters, six pitchers and four other letter winners back from last year’s 18-36-1 squad which finished eighth in the Big West with a 2-19 mark. The Matadors were swept by Cal State Fullerton in their Big West-opening series last weekend by scores of 2-1, 6-1 and 14-2.

Top Matador hitters to date are outfielder Brett Blumenthal (younger brother of former Mustang Kyle Blumenthal) with a .364 average, followed by shortstop Scott Lyons at .317, center fielder Johnny Coit at .313 and catcher Steve Lemmon at .311.

Cal State Northridge has a 108-82 advantage in its series against Cal Poly after sweeping the Mustangs two weeks ago by scores of 5-0, 9-7 and 7-6 in Baggett Stadium. The Mustangs won four of five matchups a year ago and 12 of the last 14 before the sweep two weeks ago. Larry Lee is 10-4 against the Matadors while Steve Rousey is 4-10 against the Mustangs.

Cal Poly, which hit 15 home runs in its first 12 games, slugged seven more in the series at Washington three weeks ago and now has 30 in 32 games this season. Junior third baseman Josh Lansford, who had a nine-game hitting streak snapped by Washington, leads the Mustangs offensively with a .361 average.

Freshman first baseman/designated hitter Adam Buschini owns a .327 mark after going 4-for-11 in a series for the second straight week. Junior catcher Matt Canepa is next at .320 while senior first baseman/right fielder Jimmy Van Ostrand is hitting .301 and leads Cal Poly and the Big West with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs.

Lee, in his fourth season as Mustang mentor with a 119-85-2 career mark, guided Cal Poly in 2005 to a tie for second place in the Big West Conference with Long Beach State, both 14-7 and two games behind 2004 national champion Cal State Fullerton. The Mustangs finished 36-20 overall, but were denied an NCAA Tournament berth.

Cal Poly continues Big West Conference action next weekend (April 13-15) with a three-game series against UC Irvine in Baggett Stadium. The series will be played Thursday through Saturday prior to Easter Sunday.

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