CSUB gets its first NCAA D-I tournament win


Senior pitcher Hayden Carter went nine innings strong against Mississippi on May 30 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. That was his eighth complete game of the year. Photo by AJ Alvarado/The Runner

Esteban Ramirez

Sports Editor

Behind a complete game from senior pitcher Hayden Carter and big plays from the defense, the CSU Bakersfield baseball team made history by earning the school’s first NCAA Division I Tournament win in any sport.
CSUB (37-23-1) stayed alive in the NCAA Regionals by beating Mississippi 2-1 and getting the school its first NCAA D-I Tournament win at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Additionally, with the win, not only did CSUB eliminate one of last year’s NCAA College World Series’ teams in Ole Miss but also will now get another chance to beat UCLA, who lost to Maryland 4-1 on Saturday.

“It’s very significant because every step you take with a new program is big,” CSUB baseball coach Bill Kernen said to gorunners.com. “We’ve taken many of them over the seven years. To get here was another one that we haven’t taken yet, and now we’ve done that… To come out from where we did, from nothing in 2009, and to be able to say that we won a NCAA playoff game is something we’re extremely proud of.”

CSUB will play UCLA at 4 p.m. today at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Roadrunners received a top-notch performance from Carter, who went nine innings, gave up only one run and struck out two batters. He also had his eighth complete game this season, which is a new school record. He surpassed Jonathan Montoya who set it in 2011. However, Carter received some much needed help from his defense in this game.

“I didn’t feel there was any added pressure on me,” Carter said. “I get nervous before every game, so this was not anything out of the ordinary. I felt confident that our team would play well after last night, and obviously, they showed that on the field today.”

Though Carter and the defense kept the Rebels to no runs through four innings, CSUB’s offense wasn’t able to get any runs across either until senior Soloman Williams stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. With sophomore David Metzgar on, Williams went deep and drove in the Roadrunners two runs with a two-run home run.

“The whole day they were just pounding me low and away,” said Williams, who went one-of four hitting with two RBIs. “I took a lot of them. I struck out my first at-bat on it. The whole goal was to spoil it until I got something in, and I got something in and didn’t miss it.”

However, the Rebels tried to respond in the fifth inning with sophomore Errol Robinson on third and with only one out, sophomore Colby Bortles took a pitch by Carter deep.

But senior Jordie Hein made the play of the day, which made Sportscenter’s Top 10 Plays, as he was able to take away a possible two-run homer that would’ve tied the game. Bortles was able to drive in Robinson on a sacrifice fly, but CSUB was able to get out of the inning only giving up one run and clinging onto its lead.

“As a defense we’ve always prided that our pitchers don’t really strike many people out so they have to throw the ball in the plate and we’ll make the play behind them,” Hein said. “It feels good to be able to back that up.”

The Roadrunners defense continued to make big plays as they took that 2-1 lead into the ninth inning. Sophomore third baseman Joey Sanchez fielded a tough grounder from freshman Nic Perkins and threw him out but not without a little help from Williams at first base, who made a tough grab. Then Carter got junior Connor Cloyd to ground out to second baseman Metzgar and got senior Cameron Dishon to fly out for the final out.

With this win, CSUB has tied its record for most wins (37) in one season, which they set in 2011.

Carter (9-3) earned the win for the Roadrunners. Brady Bramlett (7-4) received the loss for Ole Miss. Bramlett went seven innings, gave up seven hits, allowed two runs and struck out five batters.

“I’ve seen them on ESPN a bunch of times this year,” Carter said. “I know they’re a good offensive team, and I knew I had to locate my fastball in order to be successful. I hoped that my defense would pick me up behind me, and they did. It’s pretty cool to beat an SEC team, especially Ole Miss because they were a World Series team last year.”

Kernen added that this win is another step in a good direction but said that they don’t want to just stop here.

“It’s an important step, but we don’t feel like it’s the end,” he said. “We came here to compete every day and to win it. We’re not just going to be there just to be there. We feel like we need to keep fighting until someone says it’s over for us. It’s a big step, but it’s not our goal. We want to win tomorrow.”

The winner of the CSUB-UCLA game today will play Maryland at 8 p.m the same day. If the Roadrunners beat the Terrapins, then they will play again on Monday at 8 p.m. to see who advances from the regional.

The winner of that matchup advances to the NCAA Super Regionals, which is the final step before the College World Series.