Two of the best pitchers in the Western Athletic Conference were long gone when a slugfest between Cal State Bakersfield and New Mexico State came to an end Thursday night in Las Cruces, N.M.
The Aggies prevailed, holding on for a 9-8 victory.
Max Carter started for the Roadrunners and his WAC-best 8-1 record was matched by New Mexico State’s Kyle Bradish. But Carter was gone after four-plus innings as the Aggies opened up a 7-3 lead. All the runs were earned on nine hits, including a double, triple and two home runs.
Likewise, CSUB chased Bradish with a four-run top of the sixth to tie the game. Bradish went 5-2/3 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) and, like Carter, ended the night with no decision.
The Aggies (33-19, 18-4 WAC) regained the lead 8-7 with a run in the bottom of the sixth and scored what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the eighth on a solo homer by Greg Popylisen off Isaiah Moten.
The Runners (28-21, 13-9) got a run back in the ninth when Ryan Grotjohn scored on a passed ball. CSUB had two on and two out when Sergio Robles struck out to end the game.
Andrew Penner went 3 for 4 and had an RBI to lead the Runners, and Junior Felix had a two-run double.
The two teams complete WAC play with games today (5 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m.).
Two Roadrunners head to track regionals
CSUB high jumpers Tim Van Horn and Joselito Flores received confirmation that they have qualified for the NCAA West Regional next week in Austin, Texas.
The top 48 marks in the region qualify for the regional. Van Horn and Flores finished 1-2 in the WAC Championships last week.