The biggest question mark Friday night was how Cal State Bakersfield would play the day after the players learned their coach was retiring at the end of the season.
"You don't know what's going to happen in that situation," said CSUB coach Bill Kernen after the Roadrunners routed New Mexico State 13-1.
The game was shortened to seven innings because of the Western Athletic Conference's 10-run rule.
The win improved CSUB to 22-27 overall. But more important, Bakersfield is 13-9 in the Western Athletic Conference with five league games left. CSUB has won five of its last six WAC games."
"I'm not sure what we have to do," Kernen said of the team's postseason status. "I'm assuming we'll have to win three or four games. ...
"But we're not having the low bar of just getting in. We want to be the '2' seed."
Which would give the Roadrunners a first-round bye in the six-team WAC Tournament.
CSUB senior left-hander Taylor Aikenhead took a 1-hit shutout into the seventh inning and had pitched to only two batters over the minimum.
The shutout ended when the Aggies had a leadoff single by Michael Paulson, a double by Derek Umphres and Kristoffer Koerper's sacrifice fly.
"I wanted the shutout, but the important thing was not walking anyone," said Aikenhead, who improved to 7-6. "I just threw strikes that inning and they hit some balls hard."
Aikenhead hit the first batter he faced, then threw a wild pitch. He quickly settled down and retired 15 straight batters after that until Kent Blackstone blooped a single to right to lead off the sixth to end Aikenhead's no-hit bid.
"That's the worst way to lose it," Aikenhead said. "If he hits it hard, you can't feel too bad. But it was off the end of the bat."
This was CSUB's first game since Kernen's announcement Thursday he'll retire at the end of the season.
"That gave us a little motivation," Aikenhead said. "We want to make sure he goes out on top."
Kernen called it CSUB's best game of the season.
"It says a lot about them that they were able to play that well under those circumstances," Kernen said.
Bakersfield collected 16 hits off six Aggie pitchers.
Oscar Sanay, who has raised his batting average more than 40 points in the last three weeks, and Allen Gwynn had three hits each. Four other players had two hits each.
Defensively, second baseman David Metzgar may have made the play of the year.
Kyle Kilgore hit a ground ball between first baseman Soloman Williams and second baseman David Metzgar.
Metzgar made a sliding stop after Williams momentarily obscured the ball.
Aikenhead was slow to cover first but barely got there in time on a bang-bang play.
"That play by Metzgar was one of the best plays I've ever seen," Aikenhead said.
On his slow reaction to cover first, Aikenhead said: "That's because I was dumb. I froze and then I guess I'd better get over there."
CSUB junior center fielder Jordie Hein missed his third straight game after suffering a fractured left pinky on a slide at the plate vs. Northern Colorado on May 6.
Kernen said he hopes Hein can return by next weekend's series at Seattle to close the WAC regular season.
CSUB closes out its home schedule -- and Kernen's final two home games -- tonight at 6 and Sunday at 1 vs. New Mexico State.