Charles loses footing in season opener, Roadrunners fall 8-1

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#25. Aaron Charles takes his first pitch of the game for CSU Bakersfield against UC Davis. Photo: Aaron Mills

Vincent Perez

Sports Editor

CSU Bakersfield Head Coach Jeremy Beard described the first game of the 2018 baseball season as a game not filled with their best playing.

“We couldn’t get in rhythm all night long, we were flirting with mistakes,” said Beard.

On Friday, Feb. 16, The Roadrunners lost 8-1 to UC Davis, in the season opener and the first of a three-game set at Hardt Field.

Sergio Robles, junior outfielder said, “We were trying to do too much with the ball.”
He said about UC Davis pitcher, Matt Blais, “With a pitcher like that, we have to shorten our swing.” Blais (1-0) went eight innings, gave up five hits and only gave up one run in 84 pitches.

Robles said the Roadrunner freshman and junior college transfers got a taste of what competition is like in Division I.
“Now they know what to expect. There’s a lot of learning here,” said Robles.
“We’re going to have some turbulence, you never want to peak too early.”

Starting pitcher, sophomore Aaron Charles (0-1) said the team will bounce back from the loss.

He gave up 5 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings, before Beard made the change at the top of the sixth inning.
Charles said he will learn from this outing and do better. “I will work on fastball in command,” said Charles. He made 86 pitches and struck out six but it was not enough. Beard put in freshman pitcher Kevin Altamarino after Charles.

“I’ll learn from it and get better.” Charles delivered three scoreless innings to start the game, but his command was not there. Charles hit four Aggies in total.

Beard watched Charles closely in his outing.
“[He] didn’t have his best stuff and didn’t pound the zone,” said Beard.

Beard said he was late on his delivery on the mound. He said Charles will learn from this loss.

Charles said he wanted to go at least 6 innings. “My pitch count was a little up. I was getting behind in the counts, which is unacceptable,” said Charles.

A three-run top of the fourth inning would begin the assault on the Roadrunners. Aggie Logan Denholm started off the inning with a single to right center field, followed by a hit batter from Charles. With two on, Aggie Caleb Van Blake doubled to right center to score two runs. A throwing error by CSUB freshman second baseman Lewis Dirkes, allowed the Aggies to score another run, ending the bleeding at 3-0 in the inning.

UC Davis would add five more runs by the end of the sixth. They totaled 13 hits against three CSUB pitchers on the night.

The lone CSUB (0-1) run came from Dirkes in the bottom of the sixth who drove in a run with an out at first. The Roadrunners could not gain any momentum because the next play was an out at the plate, which stunted a CSUB comeback against the Aggies (1-0).

Altamarino, from Downey, California, was put in relief in the top of the sixth, but only went one inning after a 3-run outing. “He lacked a feel for his off-speed,” said Beard. “We put him in there for a reason, and we want him to learn from this early and get better.”

He added that the team can learn from the first loss. “That’s what we need to do with this ballclub,” said Beard. He said about the upcoming games, “We just have to turn the page. Move on to tomorrow. Learn from today and stay even keel.”

“This is a process. They’ll come out and compete tomorrow,” said Beard.

The Roadrunners face UC Davis tomorrow at 1 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 18, at 12 noon, both games at Hardt Field.