Carter’s walk-off RBI double lifts Roadrunners past Bears

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Sophomore David Metzgar attempts a bunt in the ninth inning against Northern Colorado at Hardt Field on May 3. The Roadrunners beat the Bears 7-6. Marisel Maldonado/The Runner

Esteban Ramirez

Sports Editor

It was a back-and-forth battle between the CSU Bakersfield baseball team and Northern Colorado at Hardt Field on May 3.
However, thanks to a walk-off RBI double from sophomore Max Carter, the Roadrunners beat the Bears 7-6 in a Western Athletic Conference game.
With the game tied 6-6 headed into the bottom of the ninth inning, CSUB got a leadoff walk from junior Mylz Jones to start the inning. After sophomore David Metzgar struck out swinging, it set the stage for Carter’s heroics.
Carter, who went two of five hitting, ripped the ball down the third-base line and with the Bears’ outfield shifted toward right, Jones was able to easily score from first base to give the Roadrunners the win.
“It felt like I was on top of the world,” Carter said on his game-winning hit. “It feels amazing.”
Carter said his mindset was to get Jones in scoring position for the next batter.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I thought Mylz was going to stay on third, but that was awesome. He was hauling and that was awesome. I was pumped.
“It felt like a relief. Like we know we can beat these guys. They are a good team but we know that we can beat them. It was just a big sigh of relief that that finally got done.”
CSUB (28-17-1, 14-6-1 WAC) has now moved a half-game ahead of Seattle University (23-23, 14-7 WAC), who lost to Grand Canyon University 13-11 in the 13th inning, for first in the conference.
There were three different lead changes and three ties, but every time the Bears took a lead or tied the game, the Roadrunners had an answer for them.
CSUB fell behind early after a run for N. Colorado (16-24, 12-9 WAC) in the top of the second inning, but the Roadrunners responded with three runs in the bottom half.
The Bears battled back and retook the lead in the top of the fourth inning by scoring three runs and taking a 4-3 lead. However, the Roadrunners responded once again with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 5-4 lead.
CSUB added another run in the sixth inning, but this time it was N. Colorado that responded with two runs in the seventh inning to tie the game 6-6. The ’Runners answered once again with the game-winning RBI double.
“This team has shown maturity, and we’ve said since the beginning with some of our veteran guys,” Kernen said. “They are never going to give up, they are never going to panic and they are never going to let anyone get away without a battle for nine innings.”
CSUB junior Chance Gusbeth went two of four hitting and scored one run. Senior Logan Trowbridge added a team-high two RBIs on one of two hitting.
Sophomore pitcher Garrett Nimmo (4-1) earned the win in relief. Senior starting pitcher Nick Rogowski pitched 8 2/3 innings, had 4 strikeouts, gave up 6 runs and 11 hits in a school-record 155 pitches.
“It was a good strong effort it wasn’t a dominant performance,” Kernen said on Rogowski’s performance. “I’ve coached my whole life with the idea that I give my starting pitcher a chance to win. As long as they are in the game and it’s tied, we’re ahead or we’re close and they are getting it done, then I leave them in there.”
Kernen added that he’s not concerned with the pitch count that Rogowski had.
“We save pitchers early in the year, and there is a game or two where you just have to let somebody go,” he said. “I’ve done it with [senior James Barragan] and I think I’ve done it with [senior Hayden Carter] also. They are OK, and as long as there’s nothing wrong physically with them. Plus, for some of these guys it’s going to be their last few games, so I got to give them a chance to get all of them out of it.”
The Bears’ Dylan Shiraki (1-3) received the loss.
CSUB is scheduled to play at UC Santa Barbara on May 5 at 3 p.m.
This was CSUB’s final home series of the season. The Roadrunners final home game will be on May 12 against UC Santa Barbara at 6 p.m.