SAN JOSE -- Cal State Bakersfield was one out from a share of the regular-season Western Athletic Conference baseball title before San Jose State rallied for the victory.
The Spartans used small ball in the ninth inning to push across two runs and defeat the Roadrunners 2-1 at Municipal Stadium.
CSUB (34-20, 17-8) needs one win in its final two games -- today and Sunday at San Jose State -- to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. The Roadrunners, playing their first season in the WAC, are a half-game ahead of Texas-Arlington, which beat Sacramento State on Friday. CSUB owns the tie-breaker (head-to-head play) with Arlington. Arlington plays its finale today in Sacramento, and an Arlington loss would also secure CSUB at least a share of the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed.
Tyler Shryock singled home Kevin Younger in the fifth inning for a 1-0 Roadrunners lead. And Jeff McKenzie made that lead hold up through eight scoreless innings. After recording two outs in the ninth, McKenzie allowed an RBI single to Sheldon Daquioag that tied the game.
Tayler Aikenhead relieved McKenzie and allowed two walks to load the bases before Dane Lund hit an infield single to score Daquioag for the winning run.
Both runs were charged to McKenzie, who struck out eight, walked none and allowed eight hits in another impressive start. McKenzie (12-2) is on the watch list for the National Pitcher of the Year Award.