It was pick your poison time for Fresno State in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night.
First base was open with a runner on third and two outs in a scoreless game.
The Bulldogs elected to intentionally walk Cal State Bakersfield cleanup batter Cael Brockmeyer to get to freshman third baseman Mylz Jones, who was hitless in his nine previous at-bats.
Jones foiled the strategy with an RBI single up the middle. The Roadrunners added another run later in the eighth inning when Chance Gusbeth walked with the bases loaded and the Roadrunners posted a 2-0 non-conference win at Hardt Field.
The Roadrunners improved to 3-0 against Fresno State this season as they improved to 28-14 overall.
The Bulldogs (13-25) saw their five-game winning streak snapped.
The game had additional importance to the Roadrunners, who moved from 88 to 58 in this week's NCAA ratings percentage index. RPI is used to help determine at-large postseason berths and is calculated by a team's winning percentage, opponents' winning percentages and the winning percentage of the opponents' opponents.
"We're getting into the bubble range," CSUB coach Bill Kernen said. "Realistically, we probably need to get under 40.
"We'll have to win a lot of games. We can probably lose only 3-4 more times and that's very difficult to do playing on the road the way we're going to."
Only three of CSUB's final 14 regular-season games will be played at Hardt Field. CSUB is 11-4 in the Western Athletic Conference and has a three-game series this weekend at Texas State (9-6 WAC, 14-6 at home).
Chuck Buchanan, James Barragan and Hayden Carter pitched three innings apiece Tuesday for CSUB, which followed Kernen's pregame plan.
"I didn't want to use anybody up," Kernen said, adding he wants all three available for this weekend. "This is going to be a very difficult place to play and I want to make sure everybody is available."
The Bulldogs had a golden opportunity to score the game's first run in he seventh when Trent Garrison hit a leadoff double and Taylor Tempel followed with another double.
Garrison hesitated as Tempel's line drive landed in right-center and was barely to third when the ball was fired back to the infield. Second baseman Oscar Sanay made a perfect relay to the plate to throw out Garrison.
"That was major," Kernen said. "This was a great pitching duel and their guy did a great job, too.
"That was their chance.
Said Sanay: “I initially saw him come back to second base. I saw that but I didn’t process it. But I heard someone say, ‘4’ (throw home) when I got it.
“You know, it all comes down to one or two plays during a ball game. Who makes the most amount of plays will win.”
“He (Garrison) did make a mistake on the bases,” Kernen said. “It’s harder to see on the bases than you think. It’s why you have base coaches. I have a feeling he didn’t pick up his third-base coach.”
CSUB executed on defense to thwart another Bulldogs rally, this time in the first inning.
Austin Wynns walked with one out and Aaron Judge, considered Fresno State’s top player, lined a single to center.
Judge tried to advance to second as the throw from center fielder Jordie Hein threw toward third. But shortstop Tyler Shryock cut the throw off and Judge was caught in a rundown. Wynns had to hold third while Judge was tagged out, and the inning ended moments later when Jordan Luplow lined to center.
In the CSUB eighth, Sanay led off with a double to deep left.
Hein struck out and Shryock grounded out. Brockmeyer’s walk and Jones’ RBI single followed.
A balk, walk to Kevin Younger that reloaded the bases and a full-count walk to Gusbeth gave CSUB the insurance run.
Carter, the third CSUB pitcher, retired the Bulldogs in order in the ninth inning to end it.
Notes: Fresno State’s RPI is 250. ... Kernen had closer Taylor Aikenhead and No. 1 starter Jeff McKenzie warming up late in the game. “I thought Carter did fine,” Kernen said. “I wasn’t going to let a rally get going.”