Not every day a nationally ranked opponent visits Hardt Field, much less an enemy of a conference like UC Santa Barbara, and in a relentless entrance on Thursday night, the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners seized his moment in the spotlight.
After a 5-0 run at the bottom of the third, Jashia Morrissey overtook left-hander Christian Kirtley with the RBI pairing the lead and James Bell, Andrew Allanson and Nick Salas led the only four in a row to level the score.
The Gauchos responded almost immediately with a single shot from Nick Vogt, just behind starter Jaykob Acosta, and then held on to Roadrunner even though he delivered five more strokes to secure a 9-6 victory.
Despite losing his ninth-place finish to the conference with a three-match series against the conference champions, CSUB coach Jeremy Beard took a positive tone.
“Every time you are in front of a ranked program in the top 20 in the country and every time you see your boys competing like they are tonight,” Beard said, “we want to echo today’s approach and play a good game on the street. A clean baseball game tomorrow.”
UCSB’s unbeaten starter Cory Lewis gave up five runs in the fifth, but relays Michael Rice and Ryan Harvey put up two solid innings. The only race left for CSUB was when Vogt lost the ball in a row in midfield lights, which doubled for AJ Miller and James Bell.
Bell, Andrew Allanson and Nick Salas, a 4-5-6 trio in the CSUB lineup, had two hits each with Salas adding a walk.
“I thought we had great dish appearances all night,” Beard said. “Over the last three weeks we’ve been putting together a much better dish approach and look, and our guys have done a really nice job competing against one of the top players on the West Coast.”
CSUB has spent the entire season looking for consistency in the mound, and has given at least three runs in every conference game this year.
Thursday’s outing to Acosta was another blow to the road. The Gauchos opened with a double from Bryce Willits and their first four batsmen reached the base, with Blake Klassen (4 out of 5, three RBI), Kyle Johnson and Broc Mortensen running in a play. The 6-4-3 double play helped CSUB avoid further damage, but the Gauchos made two more runs in the second, two doubles and a Vogt sacrifice fly.
“Jaykob has gone up and down this year with some lat-injuries and things he’s struggling with,” Beard said, “so every entry we make right now is an extra for us … he’s a young pitcher, he’s the same. “.
Ryan Verdugo remained steady in relief, firing more than four innings, allowing a run in two strokes. CSUB reduced the lead to 8-6 in the Miller and Bell doubles by then, but UCSB responded with a gentle blow from the Central Klassen into Jordan Sprinkle’s goal and regained the three-pointer.
The Roadrunners were down 18-32 (11-17 Big West), and the Gauchos were ahead 41-12 (25-3). Both teams will play again on Friday night and Saturday evening.
Journalist Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow her on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.
CSUB baseball falls short in series opener against conference champion UCSB | Sports Source link CSUB baseball falls short in series opener against conference champion UCSB | Sports