A familiar face came to Bakersfield on Tuesday and took down the Roadrunner baseball team. Luke Andrews, a former Bakersfield College and Liberty High standout pitcher, threw 95 pitches in 7 1/3 innings to earn the 9-5 win over the Roadrunners.
Andrews, (2-1), a junior, allowed four earned runs but struck out four Roadrunners in his homecoming.
“It was a surreal moment for me,” said Andrews.
“It was good to comeback in front of family and friends, show off for them.”
Andrews said he knows many Roadrunners being from Bakersfield. He wanted to extend his performance because of his homecoming.
“After the first couple of innings, I was hoping I going to go longer than I did. Overall, I was proud of how I did.”
Andrews spent two seasons at BC. As a sophomore, he went 4-6 with an ERA of 2.89, struck out 60 batters and had only 15 walks in 90 1/3 innings. Andrews graduated from Liberty in 2015. He pitched for the Patriots from 2012-2015 and earned First Team All-League honors his senior year.
Senior Jassen Oliver and Andrews were Liberty High (2012-14) teammates according to maxpreps.com. Senior Luis Martinez was also a BC teammate of Andrews. All three were a part of the 2016-2017 Renegades according to gogades.com.
The Gauchos’ offense (21-28-1, 6-6 Big West) outpowered the Roadrunners (16-27, 6-9 WAC), getting a hit in every inning except the sixth, eighth and ninth innings.
CSUB Head Coach Jeremy Beard used eight Roadrunner pitchers. Sophomore Isaiah Moten (3 hits, 1 run) started the game for CSUB, yet was pulled after two innings, who was replaced by freshman Davonte Butler. Butler went two innings, after giving up three runs. Sophomore Aaron Charles (2-4) made a rare appearance in the fifth inning, but got the loss, allowing two hits and two runs in two innings.
“We pitched a lot of guys. It’s an opportunity for guys to come in and show they’re ready to go in May,” said Beard. “We didn’t do that at all. It’s frustrating. It’s really tough to win a game when you give up nine runs and not a lot of hits behind those.”
The Gauchos had nine hits in the win. CSUB walked six UCSB batters, which didn’t help their case to win.
An error created the first run for CSUB in the first inning, and UCSB responded with their own run in the second. When the Roadrunners scored three runs in the third, the Roadrunners led 4-1. Senior Andrew Penner doubled and junior Ryan Koch singled in the three runs together and it appeared as if the Roadrunners were going to do more damage.
No more run support appeared until the eighth inning when Penner scored junior Noah Barba from a single to center field.
CSUB was in the game until UCSB blew out two home runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Sophomore Armani Smith homered to left field, scoring three, tying the game 4-4. Then, in the fifth, freshman Andrew Martinez unleashed a 2-run bomb to center field, which got out in a hurry over the 390-foot mark in center. That would set the precedent for the rest of the game. UCSB led 6-4 and it added three more runs in the seventh and eighth, to cement their 9-5 nonconference victory.
Penner said about Andrews’ outing in his homecoming, “He mixed his pitches pretty well.” Penner said that the time is now for the Roadrunners to turn the season around.
The Roadrunners host a solid Grand Canyon University squad (25-19, 12-3 WAC) this weekend in a conference three-game series, beginning Friday, May 4, at 6 p.m.