It's a nightmare for any team: finding a way to lose.
And it's something that just isn't going away this season for Cal State Bakersfield baseball.
Three errors led to four unearned runs, and Cal State Bakersfield let 4-0 and 8-7 leads melt away in a 9-8 non-conference loss to Cal State Northridge on Tuesday night at Hardt Field.
"You can learn how to lose," said CSUB coach Bill Kernen after the Roadrunners fell to 17-26. "We have learned how to lose. We've got it down pretty good."
CSUB had an 8-7 lead in the eighth inning when the Matadors (16-28) got a leadoff double; a sacrifice bunt that went for a hit when it struck the bat, then rolled off the foot of CSUB catcher Logan Trowbridge; an error when another sacrifice bunt was bobbled; an RBI single; and sacrifice fly.
"It's embarrassing," Kernen said."We have this script where we lead after the seventh inning and find a way to, basically, gag. We've done it about 20 times."
CSUB took a 4-0 lead in the first inning when Northridge starter John Salas was chased after getting only one out while allowing five hits and a walk. The inning featured an RBI double by Max Carter and RBI triple by Soloman Williams.
But Northridge got one back in the second, then chased CSUB starter Nick Rogowski in a six-run third that featured four hits, two errors and three unearned runs.
By the fifth inning, Kernen and associate head coach Jody Robinson began making wholesale lineup changes.
Seven substitutes wound up batting over the final five innings and CSUB also used four pitchers.
"What we're trying to do: We're trying to give them all a chance because we've been playing so poorly," Kernen said. "If you're sitting on the bench and you're watching that, you think you need to get a chance.
"So we're trying to give everyone a chance and see if somebody can step up. And if they do, we're going to play them."
So many CSUB players have struggled offensively all season, Kernen noted.
"We've got guys that are hitting .180 who have had pretty good careers here," he said.
"If that's going to be the case, why not go with some new guys? See if we can develop them and make them better."
The win snapped a five-game Northridge losing streak and was only the Matadors' third win in its last 13 games.
Carter, a freshman from Stockdale High, had two doubles, a single and scored three runs for CSUB, and he also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Another CSUB freshman, Taft graduate Steven Gee, pitched four effective innings but allowed the two runs in the eighth to take the loss.
Chance Gusbeth had two hits and three RBIs -- a two-run single in the fourth that pulled CSUB within 7-6 and the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth that made it 8-7.
CSUB returns to Western Athletic Conference play Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Northern Colorado.