Both Antelope Valley and Bakersfield likely left Thursday's game in Lancaster — a 31-run, 38-hit bonanza that saw the Renegades squander a seven-run advantage and lose 17-14 — expecting it to be an aberration, the sort of game that comes along just once in a season.
Imagine their surprise Saturday in Bakersfield.
In the final innings of a back-and-forth series-deciding matchup, the Renegades broke a 12-12 tie when Andrew Townson and Manny Herrera scored on passed balls. But the Marauders regrouped and mounted their fourth comeback of the game, plating four runs of their own in the top of the ninth and then stranding a pair of BC runners to claim a 16-14 victory.
"When you're continuously scoring runs, and then you give up runs and score runs and give up runs, it gets a little frustrating," BC coach Kurt Townson said, "puts a little pressure on the defense to play better and puts a little pressure on the hitters to continue to score runs."
The Renegades were opportunistic on offense from the opening moments of the game. But for a team that has struggled on the mound as frequently as BC, with a 7.76 ERA in conference play, 14 runs still wouldn't have been enough in five of its league games.
Top starter Kyle Langston endured his most challenging start of the season, allowing seven earned runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Alex Rodriguez couldn't stop the bleeding in a short stint. Brock Slikker was effective in relief until he allowed two doubles, a walk and a single to open the ninth inning, and David Delgadillo allowed Mason Johnson's go-ahead two-RBI double before an error in center field gave the Marauders their final run.
"Just inability to close out hitters, inability to get ahead in counts," Townson said. "Put hitters in hitting counts, they hit regardless of who they are."
Johnson posted Antelope Valley's top hitting performance out of the No. 7 spot, going 4-for-6 with four RBIs. Trey Thomas and Jason Zhang posted three hits with two doubles and three more RBIs apiece as the Marauders could seemingly do no wrong at the plate.
The Renegades left the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth innings but otherwise were nearly as effective.
After coming up empty on his first two at-bats, Luis Fuentes recorded three hits, including a fifth-inning two-RBI double that gave BC some temporary breathing room. Drew Townson went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs of his own.
"I think at the end of the day, our offense has been clicking better," Kurt Townson said. "Guys throughout the lineup are doing their part, whether (it's) execution from a hit-and-run standpoint or whether it's just getting on to start an inning. We've been doing that very well over the last probably five games."
BC went up 2-0 in the first inning on a Luke Froehlich single up the middle that scored Drew Townson and Jordan Lopez. They again led 5-2 to close the fourth inning after a Trevor Spainhoward sac fly and Townson's hard-hit double to left center.
After falling behind for the first time at 6-5 on a five-hit barrage in the fifth inning, the Renegades responded immediately with five more runs, all of which came with two outs.
The sixth inning looked like it could have been BC's undoing, as Langston stayed in after hitting consecutive batters, and Keon Moseni, currently the conference's top hitter, reached on an error that scored one of them. Then Aiden Jbara brought home one more on a single to left field.
Rodriguez came in from the bullpen clinging to a 10-8 lead, but failed to retire a batter and allowed Johnson to drive in two more runs on a hit to center.
Slikker induced two swinging strikeouts, but not before allowing Thomas to sprint home on a wild pitch and put Antelope Valley up 11-10.
Thomas then struck again with an RBI double in the seventh inning, but BC responded by stringing together another two-out rally to take its final lead of the day, spurred by Lopez's clutch line drive into the gap in center that brought home Fuentes and Joseph Alatorre.
Like its predecessors, BC's eventual two-run advantage was fleeting.
The Renegades fell to 13-21 (6-9 Western State Conference) with the loss and will travel to face Citrus Tuesday.