Roadrunner’s scrimmage sets tone for season

Chris Burdick, Sports Co-Editor

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  The CSU Bakersfield baseball team kicked off their 2020 season on Feb. 1 with their alumni scrimmage game. A total of 24 former Roadrunner baseball players returned to Hardt Field on Saturday to take on this year’s team. Each player had the same goal; to enjoy an afternoon of baseball and share any experiences that may prove useful. 

  “It’s great, like I was telling the guys, this is a family,” said former CSUB catcher Jake Ortega. “It’s like family coming back seeing everybody, being able to work out and still play with them and talk with them about any of the questions they have, or just to see anything that I know from my experiences being able to help out, is fun.” 

  Head Coach Jeremy Beard described the alumni game as a great way to show what they have been able to build in the program’s short life, a strong alumni base. “For us, it’s just an incredible celebration for our program and where we are and what we are trying to do,” Beard said.  

  Beard and the rest of the Roadrunners were pleased with the number of alumni who participated in the scrimmage and showed their continued support of the program. 

  “It’s fantastic. They all care about us so much,” said senior second baseman Tyler Jorgensen. “They’ve been through it, so they know exactly what we are preparing for, and for all of them to come back like this and have a great time playing baseball it’s just a great thing to see.” 

  It was the ‘Runners’ fielding and pitching that really shined, as junior pitcher Aaron Charles and sophomore pitcher Roman Angelo were able to throw a combined six shut-out innings to begin the game.  

  The ‘Runners got an early lead due to an error in the opening innings, but the alumni were finally able to get on the board in the seventh with two quick runs. The alumni still came up short however, ending with a final of 4-2. 

  Of the 24 alumni who returned for the scrimmage, five are currently playing professional baseball, including three players from last year’s ‘Runner team. Ortega was drafted by the New York Mets in round 28 of the 2019 MLB draft, as well as starting pitchers Edgar Barclay and Darius Vines, who were drafted by the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves respectively. 

  Even with losing these key players to the draft last season, Beard has full confidence that his team is able to compete against any school in the country. “We don’t like to play teams who we want to get a win out of. We play teams who challenge our guys. We will play anybody, anywhere, anytime.” 

  This is the final year that CSUB baseball will be a part of the Western Athletic Conference, and the talk around the dugout is that the team is poised for a special season in 2020. Jorgensen says the only goal for this year is to win the WAC Championship and leave on top. 

  “I think we are really good at all three aspects of the game [this year]. We are good at hitting, we are good at fielding, and we are good at pitching,” Jorgensen said. “It’s going to be a good season.” 

  The Roadrunners regular season is scheduled to start on Feb. 14, where they will play the first of a three-game series against the Washington State Cougars. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p. m.