Roadrunners open WAC tourney against NM State


Senior Andrew Penner gets set for an at bat during the Friday, April 6 WAC game against New Mexico State University at Hardt Field. Photo by/ Ricky Gonzales

Peter Castillo


The CSU Bakersfield baseball team enters the 2018 Western Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 6 seed. Coincidentally, this is also the sixth consecutive season the team has qualified for the tournament.

The Roadrunners (20-34, 10-14 WAC) will take on third-seeded New Mexico State University (36-19, 17-7 WAC) in the first round of the double-elimination style tournament. First pitch will be at 7 p.m. in Mesa, Ariz. on Wednesday, May 23. It is available on the WAC Digital Network.

The two teams met earlier this season for a three-game weekend series at Hardt Field from April 6-8. NM State swept CSUB and outscored the Roadrunners 23-7 in the series.

CSUB will lean on senior lefty Alec Daily in the tournament opener. The redshirt-senior has a record of 5-3 and an earned run average of 4.68 with 54 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings this season.

Daily missed all of the 2016 and 2017 seasons recovering from Tommy John Surgery on his left elbow. He didn’t make his first appearance on the mound this year until Feb. 27.

The Aggies will counter with junior right-hander Kyle Bradish. He was named WAC Pitcher of the Week for his performance last week against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Bradish was also named to the All-WAC First Team after posting a 3.24 ERA in 80 2/3 innings this spring.

The Roadrunners batted .266 overall as team this season and were led by senior first baseman Andrew Penner who batted at a .357 clip.

He is batting .364 over his two-year career and will most likely set the school record, breaking the old record of .350 set by Brandon Boren in 2009-10.

NM State boasts a robust offense which paced the conference in team batting average, (.316) runs scored, (466) home runs, (57) on-base percentage (.416) and slugging percentage (.492).

The Aggies’ freshman Nick Gonzales (.367 average, 9 home runs) and redshirt-junior Caleb Henderson (.360 average, 10 home runs) lead the charge.

Should CSUB advance, it will take on top-seeded Grand Canyon University (33-22, 19-5 WAC) in the winner’s bracket on Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m.

If the Roadrunners lose, they will drop to the loser’s bracket and take on the loser of the matchup between fourth-seeded Seattle University and fifth-seeded University of Northern Colorado on Thursday, May 24 at 11 a.m.

CSUB finished as the runner-up in last year’s tournament.