Kicking off the Western Athletic Conference competition on the road, the Roadrunners squeezed one win at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in a three-game set.
In the finale on Sunday, March 25, after trading runs in the first three innings, the Roadrunners tied the game at 5 runs in the top of the seventh inning. The near comeback began when redshirt-senior Mark Pena doubled to left-center, scoring freshman Buck Anderson, cutting the Vaquero’s lead to one.
Then, redshirt-senior Alec Daily singled to left field and Pena scored on a throwing error by Vaquero Elijah Alexander. That run tied the game at 5-5. Junior Sergio Robles struck out to end the inning, leaving one man on base.
In the eighth, UTRGV (15-10, 2-1 WAC) would take the lead. Sophomore Coleman Grubbs homered to left off sidearm closing pitcher Naithen Dewsnap (1-2). CSUB would not score again and lost the finale, 6-5 and the series, 1-2.
Sophomore Aaron Charles got a no decision in his start. He allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings’ work. Redshirt-senior Kyle King and freshman Kevin Altamarino came in for relief work. The duo allowed two runs to score, one unearned.
Pena went 1-3 and drove in two runs in the finale loss at UTRGV.
In the second game on Saturday, March 24, the Roadrunners (10-15, 1-2 WAC) lost 5-0. Davonte Butler started the game for CSUB. He went 5 1/3 innings. 2 runs were charged to his name, yet 5 runs came in.
The Roadrunners made two crucial throwing errors in the first and sixth that the Vaqueros took advantage of, scoring in both innings.
Vaqueros’ pitcher Jorge Flores (3-1) did not have trouble handling the Roadrunners. Flores pitched eight innings, striking out six CSUB hitters to earn the win.
The opening WAC game went better for the Roadrunners at UTRGV.
CSUB won 8-5 on Friday, March 23, in game that they never trailed.
Leading 3-0 in the top of the eighth, Robles unloaded the bases. Robles hit a grand slam, the first of the season for CSUB and team first since 2011. After Robles’ massive swing, the Roadrunners led 7-0. Robles was back in lineup for the first time after an undisclosed injury in the season opener.
“It is great to have Sergio back in the lineup,” said head coach Jeremy Beard to gorunners.com. “His timing is coming along well and he makes us better. The homer was timely.”
UTRGV got on the board with five runs in the bottom of the eighth, but the damage was done.
Freshman Jared Toothman cashed in an insurance run in the top of the ninth off a single.
Two-way player Daily (2-0) had a solid performance on the mound in his second start of the season. Daily tossed 105 pitches in seven innings and limited the Vaqueros to three runs.
Daily has also seen playing time at first base earlier in the season in nonconference games.
“Alec did a fantastic job of competing tonight and our ball club rallied behind him,” said Beard via gorunners.com.
“He was effective on both sides of the plate and showed a veteran presence out there. He has worked hard to come back and deserved everything he got tonight.”
The Roadrunners travel to Northridge, California where they will play a single nonconference match-up against the CSU Northridge Matadors (9-14) on Tuesday, March 27 at 2 p.m.
Check back with therunneronline.com for updates.
Photo by Aaron Mills/ The Runner