By Yenny Nolasco
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, CSUB men’s baseball team beat one of its biggest rivals, the Fresno State Bulldogs 5-3 at Hardt Field. This is the first of four nonconference contests that both will involve teams.
The Bulldogs scored twice in the first inning on three hits and two walks. Freshman Chance Gusbeth singled, doubled and tripled as he scored two runs for the ‘Runners.
At the top of the fifth inning, CSUB Head Coach Bill Kernen was ejected from the game by first base umpire Ross Sweet for arguing after right fielder Garret Pierce caught the ball and dropped it as he was moving it from his glove to his throwing hand. Associate head coach Jody Robinson fill in for Kernen . “Sometimes it happens,” said Kernen “You have to protect your guys sometimes. That was caught and we didn’t get what we deserved,”
“That was a rough called that definitely fired us up,” said sophomore pitcher Taylor Aikenhead. “It ticked us off, but that happens and it got us going.”
Pierce started off the sixth inning with a walk, then was doubled home by Gusbeth, who hit a ball to right-center giving CSUB the lead. The throw to the plate should have retired Pierce, but Fresno State catcher Austin Wynns dropped the ball.
In the eighth inning, Gusbeth tripled into the right field corner then scoring on Kris Cayton’s RBI single. Sophomore outfielder Jordie Hein kept the inning going by singling to third base, which led Gusbeth reaching homeplate for the ‘Runners.
“The pitching was very solid,” said Kernen. “I don’t know what was happening at the beginning, we were having struggles in the first inning for some reason and I really can’t say why, but we can pitch and we will pitch and we’ll be in games.”
During the closing weeks of the past season, Aikenhead fractured his left pitching arm. For this game against the Bulldogs, he said his arm felt good the whole night, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out four.
“My stuff felt alright, but I wasn’t hitting my location early,” said Aikenhead. The ‘Runners’ three pitchers struck out ten Bulldogs. The ‘Runners, recorded five runs, nine hits and four walks.
Definitely a big win, picked up the win on Sunday (2/24) and got another one today,” said Aikenhead referring to Tuesday’s win. CSUB’s next home game will be March 12 against UNLV at the Hardt Field.