Bakersfield College baseball coach Tim Painton has said since practice began this season he thinks his team can be something special.
The Renegades started their season impressively, using solid pitching and timely hitting in a 10-1 win over Porterville at Gerry Collis Field.
"I think we'll continue to get better," Painton said after pitchers Ryan Stapp and Winston Ives allowed only four baserunners and walked none while the BC offense pounded 15 hits off four Pirate pitchers.
"We like our team. We like our players. We like the talent we have," Painton said. "The only thing some of them are lacking is game experience, and you can't do that without getting on the field and playing some games."
Stapp, a sophomore right-hander who was the team's closer last season, had a spectacular performance. In seven innings, he allowed two hits, one unearned run and the four baserunners. He struck out four in a 72-pitch outing.
"He was outstanding," Painton said. "We had him on a 75-pitch limit and we got seven innings out of him."
Stapp worked quickly, which set the tone for the game. It was over in one hour, 57 minutes.
"I just wanted to get ahead early," said Stapp, a Bakersfield High graduate who started only once for the Renegades last season. “Pump the strike zone and make them beat me.”
The only run for Porterville came in the first inning, on James Lopez’s RBI double to deep center field. That scored Rory French, who led off the game by reaching on an error.
“I got away from what I wanted to do,” Stapp said of the Porterville first inning. “I wanted to go with my fastball but I threw a curve that he really squared up.”
Lopez had the other hit, a line drive single to right to lead off the seventh.
The only other Porterville baserunners reached on BC errors.
“We had a couple of defensive mistakes early, and those are the things you won’t repeat, hopefully, in Day 2,” Painton said. “We’ll get better day to day with this group.”
BC had a good night situational hitting, going 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position and 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
“With two outs, you’re scrambling,” Painton said. “We had a couple of two-out, two-strike hits. Guys were battling and trying to put the ball in play and they found grass somewhere.”
Freshman Kyle Nixon from Frontier High had three hits and scored twice. Sophomore Blayne Ontiveros added three hits, including a triple, and two RBIs. Eight players in BC’s starting lineup had at least one hit.
Some of the hits were bloops, particularly in a three-run second inning that overcame a 1-0 Pirate lead. The rally started on a two-out roller to shortstop that Luc Pomales beat out, a bloop RBI single by Aaron Newman that tied the game and a pop fly RBI single by Nixon to make it 3-1.
Justin Martinez had a two-run pop fly single in a four-run eighth, which also featured an RBI infield single by Ontiveros that deflected off the tip of pitcher David Allen Jr.’s glove.
“They’re base hits,” Painton said. “We also hit some balls hard that were caught.”
BC plays host to Allan Hancock at 6 tonight and plays host to College of the Sequoias at 3 p.m. Sunday.