The Cal State Northridge baseball team begins its season Monday with a two-game series at Arizona State.
CSUN, which finished 37-22 and was the NCAA Division II Western regional runner-up last year, begins the season with an inexperienced pitching staff that is expected to grow up in a hurry against ninth-ranked Arizona State and other Division I opponents during pre-conference play.
"Last year we had three pitchers who had proven themselves at the four-year level so we were confident," CSUN Coach Terry Craven said. "This year we're going in with basically all new pitchers at the four-year level in terms of experience facing that kind of competition."
The Matadors, ranked sixth in Division II by Collegiate Baseball magazine, will send junior left-hander Fili Martinez to the mound against the Sun Devils, who finished 40-27 and in seventh-place at the College World Series last season. Martinez had no decisions and a 2.08 earned-run average in 8.66 innings a year ago.
On Tuesday, the Matadors will start senior right-hander Leo Ramirez, who was 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA in 23 innings last season.
Arizona State defeated UC Riverside, 4-3, Saturday to improve its record to 4-0. The Sun Devils are led by senior Tim Spehr, an All-Pacific 10 Conference catcher who batted .328 with 7 home runs and 34 runs batted in last season.
Seniors Mark Anderson and Lenn Gilmore are CSUN's top returning players. Anderson batted .369, Gilmore .341.