Austin Davis didn't pay any attention to the 20 MLB scouts that were in attendance to watch him pitch for the first time since 2012.
Instead, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound, Cal State Bakersfield left-hander was focused on performing well and helping the Roadrunners win.
For the most part, Davis was successful on both fronts, settling down after a rocky first inning to hurl six solid innings to earn the win in CSUB's 9-3 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon at Hardt Field.
"I didn't even notice them or anything," Davis said of the scouts. "They've been out the last couple of weekends so I've gotten used to that. I don't look up to the stands while I'm pitching."
Davis, a redshirt sophomore making just his fourth career start for CSUB, allowed three runs on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
"It was a little rough for him," CSUB coach Bill Kernen said. "He's actually been a little better in the strike zone than he was today. His stuff was good and he got better as he went a long which has been the case every day with ours guys. So I guess that's understandable.
"We expect him to be a really solid guy for us. I think you'll see him be even better than that."
Davis' fastball topped out at 94 mph, and he threw 103 pitches, 62 for strikes.
He allowed just one of the last eight batters he faced to reach base.
"In the beginning I did alright but as I got more comfortable I started doing a lot better," Davis said. "I just finished strong, so that was good ... I was just really excited to be out there. Emotions get a little heavy. Then once I got relaxed it was a lot better."
Rallying from an early deficit
Chance Gusbeth, Oscar Sanay and Ross Hough drove in two runs each as CSUB rallied from a 2-0 first-inning deficit to sweep the three game, season-opening series from the Panthers.
"Winning makes you feel good and that's better than the alternative," Kernen said. "But we're more concerned right now with the development. Finding out who should play where. Who should bat where. Who comes out of the bullpen. Lots of question to be answered."
Sunday's game was halted after eight complete innings because of time constraints. Milwaukee's flight home was scheduled to depart from LAX at 6 p.m.
Gusbeth had three of the 'Runners 11 hits against five Panthers' pitchers.
"I'm seeing the well," Gusbeth said. "We did so much practice so it's was nothing new. I had a little bit of butterflies, but it's just about being confident."
CSUB helped by errors
Milwaukee hurt its own cause with four errors. Only two of the nine runs allowed were earned.
CSUB made the Panthers pay for several of their mistakes with clutch hits.
Down 2-1, Sanay smacked a game-tying, two-out single in the second inning.
Sanay's line drive to left field easily drove home Gusbeth from third but behind him, Mahlik Jones was thrown at home on a strong throw to the plate by Milwaukee's Ryan Solberg.
Bakersfield took the lead in the fourth, 4-3, thanks to a Milwaukee error and a Sanay sacrifice fly.
"It's a good sweep to begin with but if we play like this against Irvine and Oklahoma we're not going to win," Sanay said. "That's what coach is reiterating. It's a good start but that's definitely not where we want to be right now."
Panthers starting pitcher Brian Keller (0-1) took the loss. He gave up four runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings of work.
Sam Koenig had half of Milwaukee's six hits. He finished 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.
Sergio Luna and Max Carter pitched in relief of Davis, combining for two shutout innings. Carter retired the only two batters he faced.