CSUB loses in dramatic fashion in Kernen’s final home game

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Senior Garrett Pierce hits the ball in the eighth inning against UC Santa Barbara at Hardt Field on May 12. Pierce’s hit gave CSUB a 7-6 lead heading into the ninth. Photo by Marisel Maldonado/The Runner

Esteban Ramirez

Sports Editor

It appeared that the CSU Bakersfield baseball team was going to give its coach, Bill Kernen, a perfect ending to his final home game at Hardt Field against No. 8 UC Santa Barbara on May 12.
However, the Gauchos had different plans as they rallied back in the top of the ninth with a two-run home run to get the 8-7 win.
CSUB (30-20-1) went into the bottom of the eighth inning down 6-4, but with the bases loaded, Chance Gusbeth forced a walk driving in one run and with the bases still loaded senior Garrett Pierce stepped up to the plate and drove in two runs on a pinch-hit double. CSUB was able to take that 7-6 lead into the top of the ninth. Sophomore Max Carter came in relief of redshirt-junior A.J. Monarrez, and Carter got the first two outs of the inning.
However, with the count full, Carter hit UCSB senior Cameron Newell which set the stage for the game-winning home run.
Freshman Austin Bush had a 1-2 count and blasted Carter’s pitch to right field to give the Gauchos the 8-7 lead and the win.
“Actually this is my fault,” Kernen said. “I almost always go out to the mound in a situation like that and discuss what we are going to do with a left handed hitting power guy. We could have avoided that.”
Despite the loss, it still was a big day for CSUB and Kernen as 630 people were in attendance to witness Kernen’s No. 17 jersey being retired at Hardt Field.
“That was a nice thing,” Kernen said. “I really appreciated that. I didn’t expect that to happen, so that’s a nice thing to have out there.
“I like it. I don’t think anyone even knows I’m number 17 because I never wear a uniform.”
Redshirt-senior Kris Cayton led the way hitting for CSUB as he went 3-of-4 hitting with one home run, which gave the Roadrunners a 2-1 lead early in the game, and two RBIs. He also scored twice.
“Kris Cayton’s night was amazing,” Kernen said. “He’s really hot right now. We need to have guys like that get hot and take over games. This team is going to be fine. We played well and it’s disappointing when we lose. It is not going to have an effect on what we have in front of us.”
Carter (2-1) received the loss for the Roadrunners, and freshman Chris Clements (2-0) earned the win for the Gauchos.
CSUB will head to Chicago State this weekend to play its final series of the regular season.