One look at a stat sheet and it's easy to spot the driving force behind the success of the Cal State Bakersfield baseball team this season.
It's been all about the pitching.
That was the case again for the Roadrunners against Northern Colorado on Sunday.
Jonathan Montoya allowed just one run on three hits in 82/3 innings as CSUB downed the Bears 4-1 at Hardt Field.
CSUB (14-6) outscored Northern Colorado 29-4 in sweeping the four-game, weekend series. 'Runners pitchers allowed just two earned runs in 36 innings during the series.
"The pitching was at a very high level all the way through the weekend," said CSUB coach Bill Kernen, who quietly recorded the 350th win of his 21-year college coaching career in Saturday's doubleheader finale. "That's what we'd hoped we would have happening by now, when we get ready to start conference."
Montoya (3-1), whose 2012 season was ended prematurely by an injury and subsequent surgery to his throwing arm, had eight strikeouts in earning the victory. The senior left-hander threw 101 pitches, his highest total of the season.
He came within two outs of pitching the first one-hitter in CSUB history. The 'Runners have never had a no-hitter.
Dylan Christensen, Tyler Shryock, Mylz Jones and Jordie Hein each had two hits for CSUB, which out-hit the Bears 10-3.
Shryock and Jones both extended their hiting streaks to 10 games.
Montoya and Northern Colorado starter Nick Miller (2-2) were locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel until the bottom of the seventh.
With two outs and runners on first and third, Christensen caught Northern Colorado (4-11) off guard with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze down the third-base line to score a run.
"(Miller) was throwing me a lot of curveballs, trying to work me in, trying to jam me early," Christensen said. "So I had a feeling he was probably going to try the same thing. So I knew if I just got a good bunt down in a good area, I could get a hit right there ... It was a key situation and I knew they probably wouldn't be expecting it."
An inning later, the CSUB offense gave Montoya some breathing room by plating three more runs.
Following Cael Brockmeyer's one-out double, Jones blasted a Miller offering to deep left field. The ball short-hopped the fence, allowing Brockmeyer to score.
"The pitcher gave me something to hit," Jones said. "It was inside and I just had to make sure I turned on it and just not miss it."
Two batters later with the bases full, Hein drilled a two-run single off reliever Ben Packard.
That was more than enough support for Montoya, who lost his shutout bid in the ninth by giving up doubles to Ryan Yamane and Packard.
"I had good command, basically, with almost all of my pitches," Montoya said. "I didn't use the slider that much, but the changeup was really effective. They seemed to have a hard time hitting it up until that last batter I faced."
Montoya was given a standing ovation by most of the 454 fans in attendance when he was pulled from the game with two outs in the ninth.
"We've been rehabbing him for over a year so we were interested in seeing how he would do when he gets chances, and he's getting better every week," Kernen said. "Today was just special. It was as good as he's pitched since he's been here."
Christensen, credited with the game-winning RBI for his seventh-inning bunt hit, came in for Montoya and struck out Harrison Lambert to earn his third save of the year.
Next up for the 'Runners is a game at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday.
After that, CSUB begins Western Athletic Conference play with a three-game series at Sacramento State, starting Friday.
"It's great," said Montoya of the 'Runners' upcoming WAC schedule, the first conference games in the program's history. "It's the first time we can ever be in the standings so we're all pumped about that. Hopefully we keep riding this wave."