By Victor Rodriguez
The CSU Bakersfield baseball dropped two out of three games in its Western Athletic Conference series against the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley at Hardt Field this weekend.
CSUB (12-11, 1-5 WAC) had lost four straight entering the series, including a three-game sweep at the hands of Grand Canyon University last weekend.
The Roadrunners were able to win in dramatic fashion against the Vaqueros 6-5 in the first game of the series on Friday, March 31.
“We got our offense moving which really helped us obviously,” said CSUB coach Jeremy Beard. “We’re gonna get our runners in motion and try to put pressure on them, and they didn’t handle that part of their game really well.”
The Vaqueros took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second when junior Ivan Estrella brought in two runs with a single.
CSUB cut into the lead in half in the bottom of the third after redshirt-junior Mark Pena walked and stole second. Junior Andrew Penner singled to bring in Pena.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Roadrunners were able to take a 6-2 lead after three errors were committed by the Vaqueros. CSUB tied the game after senior Mahlik Jones reached on an error and allowed senior David Metzgar to score. Sophomore Jake Ortega followed with a bunt single down the first base line.
A throwing error by UTRGV senior first baseman Victor Garcia Jr. allowed two more runs to score on the play.
Ortega was brought home after a single by sophomore Cole Valetta. CSUB attempted a double steal with Valetta and freshman Austin Tengan, the Vaqueros redshirt-senior catcher Austin Oakes attempted to throw out Valetta but a throwing error allowed Tengan to score.
In the top of the seventh, the Vaqueros trimmed the Roadrunners lead to 6-3 with a single by sophomore Conrad McMahon to knock in freshman Tyler Torres.
In the ninth inning, the Vaqueros nearly mounted a comeback with a two-out rally. After three singles and two walks allowed by the Roadrunners, the Vaqueros had narrowed the lead 6-5. Junior pitcher Naithan Dewsnap induced fly out to center field cut their comeback short.
“My defense, especially our third baseman really played well,” said senior Max Carter. “They got the outs that we needed and got the job done.”
Carter allowed 2 earned runs and totaled 5 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings pitched.
In the second game of the series CSUB rallied but fell short as the Roadrunners lost 13-12. After being down 5-3 the first two innings, the Roadrunners were on the ropes after UTRGV scored three and five runs in the fourth and sixth innings respectively. With the score 13-3, the Roadrunners had to at least score one run to not lose the game due to the WAC 10-run mercy rule.
The Roadrunners broke out with eight runs in the inning, making it 13-11.
It was the third most in a single inning in school history.
CSUB only managed to plate one more run in the eighth inning but were unable to complete the comeback.
The third game of the series was a bit more low scoring with UTRGV. The Vaqueros took it 4-2 after scoring four runs in each of the innings from the fourth to seventh. CSUB scored its two runs in the fifth but was unable to score again.
The Roadrunners beat UC Irvine 14-2 Tuesday, April 4, behind five RBIs from Metzgar.
CSUB is scheduled to play against Chicago State this Friday.