BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—The top four batters in the CSU Bakersfield lineup combined to go 10-for-16 as the Roadrunners defeated Northern Colorado 14-3 to sweep a Western Athletic Conference baseball series Sunday afternoon.
CSUB leadoff hitter Jake Ortega was 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Andrew Penner, the second batter went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. David Metzgar, CSUB's No. 3 hitter, was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. CSUB cleanup hitter Mahlik Jones charted a 3-for-4 performance with four RBI's.
“Every time those guys were in the box, something good happened,” CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard said. “When you have guys putting the ball in play and not striking out it makes a huge difference.”
The Bears (16-27, 5-13 WAC) got on the board first when Alex Kiel homered to left with one out in the top of the first. Penner tied the score in the bottom of the first when he doubled in Ortega. With one out, Jones' safety squeeze was successful. Jones reach first as Penner scored to give CSUB the lead.
With two outs, Sergio Robles doubled to the left center gap to score Max Carter and Ryan Grotjohn. Robles' hit chased Bears' starter Karver Pate in favor of Jacob Howard. Howard struck out Cole Valletta to conclude the inning. With one out in the second, Brett Minnick singled. CSUB starter Aaron Charles hit Dan Reese to bring up Dean Lawson. With the count 2-1 on Lawson, Ortega, the Roadrunner catcher, picked Reese off first for the second out. Lawson flew out to Robles in right center to wrap up the frame.
Jones increased the lead to five in the bottom of the second with a two-out, two-RBI single to plate Ortega and Metzgar. Tyler Yamaguchi singled to lead off the UNC third. Nick Tanner walked. Kiel struck out on an appeal down to the first umpire for the first out. Penner nearly lost Jack Pauley's fly ball to left in the sun, but was able to recover to make the catch for the second out. Evan Johnson grounded out to second for the final out.
Minnick doubled with one out in the fourth and moved to third when Reese singled. Valletta caught Lawson's liner to right and his throw into Ortega at home kept Minnick from scoring. Charles concluded the inning in favor of the Roadrunners when he struck out Yamaguchi.
The Roadrunners scored seven runs before Northern Colorado recorded the first out of the fourth inning. CSUB would end up scoring eight for the frame as Ortega singled twice. Luis Martinez drove in a pair of runs during the 26-minute span. The ‘Runners would send 12 batters to the plate. The CSUB fourth was the third time this season the Roadrunners scored at least eight runs in an inning.
“We took advantage of the good pitches to hit and put pressure on their defense,” said Beard. “We made it hard all weekend on their defense by putting the ball in play. We had a sound approach and it showed.”
The first two Bears singled in the top of the fifth before Penner made a diving catch of a Pauly fly ball in left to get the first out. Charles grabbed an Evan Johnson liner and threw to first for a double play to end the NC threat.
Minnick posted his third hit of the game, a double, to drive in Cole Maltese in the sixth. The Bears loaded the bases with one out before Isaac Meza became the third CSUB pitcher when he entered to face Tanner. Meza got Tanner to foul out to Jones at third. Payton Tapia singled to center to drive in a run. With the Meza count 1-0 on Pauley, Beard brought in his closer, Naithen Dewsnap. Dewsnap struck out Pauley, Northern Colorado's leading hitter (.349).
The Roadrunners outhit the Bears 15-12. Robles would be the fifth CSUB batter to turn in a multi-hit performance. He was 2-for-3 with three RBI's. Minnick (3), Kiel (2), and Yamaguchi (2) had multiple hits for Northern Colorado.
The Roadrunners (26-17, 11-7 WAC) begin a five-game week Tuesday when the Roadrunners travel to CSUN (22-25). Corey Costelloe's pregame show on ESPN 1230 AM/98.1 FM begins at 2:45 p.m. First pitch on BigWest.TV is set for 3 p.m.
The week continues Wednesday when CSUB hosts No. 23 Loyola Marymount (30-14) at 6 p.m. Costelloe's pregame show on ESPN 1230 AM/98.1 FM starts at 5:45 p.m. Roadrunner Sports Network coverage gets underway at 6 p.m. The week concludes with the final home games of the 2017 season as Seattle U comes to Hardt Field. The series begins Friday at 6 p.m.