Rutgers University didn't take much time putting Thursday's dual wrestling meet out of reach of Cal State Bakersfield.
The Scarlet Knights built a 17-0 lead and CSUB didn't take its first lead in a match until the fifth bout as Rutgers coasted to a 29-9 win in CSUB's Old Gym.
"It was tough," CSUB coach Mike Mendoza said after the Roadrunners fell to 4-2 in dual meets with its first home loss of the season. "The effort was good. This was a good team we wrestled."
Rutgers is 8-1 heading into Sunday's competition at the Stanford Duals.
"The trip didn't start out well. We had a tough time getting out with our flight," said Rutgers coach Scott Goodale. "A lot of our guys, including myself, have never been to the West Coast. It was neat to get out here."
Rutgers, located in Piscataway, N.J., is a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association.
The Scarlet Knights are a seasoned team. They used six seniors and two juniors in the 10 matches. CSUB wrestled two seniors, three freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors.
"When you have freshmen you don't use it as an excuse," Mendoza said. "But there is a learning curve. You see it in our team when (senior) Tyler Iwamura wrestles a tough match.
"There's no question in our mind he wrestled a tough match and had full effort. Now, for a few other guys, they need to learn to let loose and that comes with experience."
One of CSUB's seniors, Andrew Balch at 174, replaced redshirt freshman Bryce Hammond, who was sitting on the bench in street clothes. He's been battling a respiratory illness, Mendoza said.
"We've had a little bit of sickness going around our team," Mendoza said. "I wasn't sure Ian Nickell would wrestle tonight. He's been sick -- he didn't go to Midlands. That was a decision we made after weigh-ins (an hour before the start of th match)."
Nickell gave CSUB its first points, a 7-3 decision over Vincent Dellefave at 133 pounds.
Nickell led 2-0 after the first period and 3-0 early in the second before Dellefave got a takedown. But Nickell got an escape to lead 4-2 an added a takedown of his own, plus a riding time point.
"Whenever I get on the mat I want to get the first takedown," said Nickell, a redshirt freshman from Bakersfield High School. "Then I get to work on the top which is my best position."
CSUB didn't score another team point until the final match of the night, when redshirt freshman David Meza recorded a pin four seconds before the end of the overtime period to beat Anthony Volpe. It was 1-1 through three periods.
"It was pretty exciting," said Meza. "We practice for those type of situations.'
On the match-deciding move, Meza said, "I caught him when he shot in."
Meza flipped Volpe to his back and pinned him two seconds later.
The most exciting bout was at 141, in which CSUB redshirt freshman Timmy Box and Rutgers senior Trevor Melde battled back and forth. Melde is ranked No. 19 and Box No. 20.
Melde won a 15-8 decision. Three times he nearly had Box pinned, and Box several times appeared to have Melde under control before the Rutgers senior fought free.
"I don't think he was a better wrestler than me, but he's more experienced and he played the mat," Box said. "That caught me off-guard a little bit."
"That Box kid might've been a better wrestler," Goodale said. "But he just made some freshman mistakes. Trevor has more savvy and is a two-time national qualifier. But that kid (Box) will be good."
Another close match came at 125 when Rutgers' Joseph Langel III pulled out a 4-2 overtime win over Iwamura. The bout-deciding takedown came with 17 seconds left in the overtime period.
"Some of the matches were close," Mendoza said. "We had a couple of overtime matches. We won one and had one come down to a scramble at the end that did not go our way. You look at these matches and learn from them."