Getting runners on base hasn't been a problem for the Cal State Bakersfield baseball team this season.
However, converting those base runners into runs has been somewhat of a struggle.
Not this time. CSUB produced a plethora of clutch hits in beating Long Island University 10-3 Sunday afternoon at Hardt Field.
The 'Runners scored eight runs in the third inning en route to a 10-0 lead. That advantage was more than enough for starting pitcher Jonathan Montoya and a pair of relievers.
Frank Martinez and Oscar Sanay each had three-run hits as CSUB (8-3) broke the game open early and then coasted to its fifth straight win.
LIU (0-6) had eight hits but didn't push any runs across the plate until the sixth inning. By then the game was well out of hand.
Leading 3-0 in the third, Martinez hammered a bases-loaded double to the gap in right-center that allowed three runs to score.
Later in the frame, Sanay cleared the bases again with a triple over the LIU right fielder's head, extending the CSUB lead to 10-0.
"Those are almost like grand slams when you do that," CSUB coach Bill Kernen said. "That was good. The problem we've been having lately offensively has been with the ability to get runners home once we get them on and we were able to hit better with runners on base today. That was very encouraging."
CSUB sent 12 batters to the plate during its third-inning offensive explosion, which was aided by a hit batter and a pair of LIU errors.
Montoya, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm last year, was sharp during his five innings on the mound. In earning the win the senior left-hander allowed no runs on three hits while recording four strikeouts. He also picked off two LIU baserunners.
"Montoya's outing was the best one he's had," Kernen said. "He had his best rhythm. He had his best command. He looked like Jonathan Montoya today, a lot more than he did the other times, which is very good because he's going uphill in his progress. He'll be ready to go in the WAC in a couple of weeks."
Montoya, CSUB's all-time wins leader, agreed with Kernen's assessment.
"I had more command of my pitches," he said. "Was throwing a lot more strikes. Actually didn't have any walks. Compared to the previous outings, I think this was probably the best one so far."
Nine different players contributed to the 'Runners' 11-hit attack. The only multi-hit performances came from the top-of-the lineup as Dylan Christensen and Tyler Shryock each went 2-for-5.
Christensen entered the game with a .382 batting average after a 4-for-4 effort Saturday. It was a big week for the senior. The outfielder/pitcher supplemented his stellar hitting with nice work on the mound, registering a pair of saves.
"I'm in just one of those grooves," Christensen said. "I feel good at the plate and I'm just getting pitches and not missing (them)."
Martinez, making only his third start of the season, reached base three times and did a good job defensively behind the plate, especially at framing pitches.
"I just came out here ready to play," the catcher said. "I got the word I was getting the start. I was going to go out there and give my best, do whatever I can to help the team win. Luckily I had a good day."
All three Blackbirds runs came off of Josh Rodriguez, who was making his CSUB debut. Rodriguez replaced Montoya on the hill and pitched three innings, during which he allowed five hits and two walks. The junior lefty also had three strikeouts.
James Barragan hurled one perfect inning to close out the win.
CSUB will next hit the road for the first time this season. The 'Runners will first face UC Irvine on Tuesday. Then it's on to UC Davis for a three-game weekend series.