Midweek games have not been the brightest moments of Cal State Bakersfield's baseball season.
The Roadrunners lost their fourth straight non-conference midweek game -- and second in two nights -- 8-5 to Cal State Northridge on Wednesday night at Hardt Field.
"That's one of the negatives about being in a conference," CSUB coach Bill Kernen said. "Sometimes the kids take them differently than they do the conference games. ...
"No matter how much they try, no matter how much you tell them, there's something in that about the midweek games."
The Roadrunners are 21-13 overall, but remain tied for first place in the Western Athletic Conference at 6-3.
The bright spot for CSUB on Wednesday was the pitching by senior left-hander Chuck Buchanan.
He had pitched only 6-1/3 innings in two appearances coming into the game. He was sharp in six innings Wednesday, allowing four hits, one run, one walk and had nine strikeouts, the most in his CSUB career.
"It wasn't just his stuff. We always know he has good stuff," Kernen said. "His command, for not having pitched, was outstanding. He threw strikes. If he throws strikes with his stuff, you're going to have a problem."
But aside from Buchanan's effort, it was a forgettable night for CSUB.
The Roadrunners had three errors, a passed ball and three wild pitches. Four of Northridge's runs were unearned.
"We need to be better than that," Kernen said. "When we were in our first year, it was understandable. But when we have veteran guys like this, it really isn't. ...
"It was probably the worst game we've ever played in the history of the program."
It all unraveled after Kernen went to his bullpen with CSUB leading 2-1 to start the seventh inning.
Kernen said earlier this week he wanted to use seldom-used pitchers Tuesday against Cal Poly (a 5-2 loss) and Wednesday against Northridge to give them some needed work while also seeing how they handle their opportunities.
Freshman Chance Gusbeth, who has played outfield and first base this season, made his CSUB pitching debut and took the loss.
He allowed one hit and four runs (two earned). An error and passed ball, plus two walks and a hit batter didn't help.
Junior Allen Gwynn, who pitched to two batters Tuesday, went two innings Wednesday and allowed four hits and three runs (one earned).
Northridge took a 3-2 lead with two runs in the seventh against Gusbeth, then added four unearned runs in the eighth against Gusbeth and Gwynn.
The key play in the eighth was a bases-loaded squeeze bunt when Gwynn flipped the ball home for the forceout but catcher Cael Brockmeyer's throw to first trying for a double play sailed into right field, scoring two runs.
A pair of RBI hits followed and it gave the Matadors (18-15) an 8-2 lead.
CSUB scored twice in the second on two singles, a wild pitch, two straight walks for a run and Oscar Sanay's sacrifice fly.
The Roadrunners, limited to three hits against Cal Poly, had zero hits from the third through the eighth. CSUB strung three hits together in the ninth and scored three runs but the game was out of reach at that point.
"We're not hitting," Kernen said. "They couldn't hit me now and I don't know if I can throw 60 feet."
Kernen added: "We're going through that for some reason. We did hit the ball well at times at Arlington (last weekend), and I thought (against Cal Poly) we didn't get rewarded for some of the balls we hit but tonight we didn't do anything."
CSUB begins a three-game WAC series vs. Texas-San Antonio Friday at Hardt Field starting at 6 p.m.