Conference openers were not kind to Bakersfield's local college teams this spring.
Both the Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield baseball teams suffered sweeps — BC against Canyons, CSUB at UC Santa Barbara — and CSUB softball dropped both halves of a home doubleheader against UC San Diego Thursday.
Only the BC softball team, which despite a string of weather delays sits at 5-1 in Western State Conference play five weeks in, fared well in the early going.
Everyone else, however, turned it around in a hurry.
The BC baseball team, which had lost 14 of 15 games through last Thursday, won back-to-back road contests with LA Mission. Its CSUB counterpart was on its own nine-game losing streak before righting the ship against Pacific Monday. And the softball Roadrunners came back and run-ruled UCSD on Friday to earn their first conference win of the year.
In short, momentum is building around Kern County.
Baseball: LA Mission poured it on late last Thursday and rolled to a 17-5 win, but the Renegades struck back to claim the series win. In Los Angeles on Saturday, Kyle Langston pitched a complete game for his first victory of the year as BC used three home runs to earn a 6-2 win. Two days later, the offense was even more effective, tallying 15 hits and nine walks, highlighted by Jordan Lopez's 4-for-5 showing, on the way to a 14-4 victory. The Renegades are still just 8-15 on the year but have a chance to continue their improvement at home against Glendale Thursday.
Men's tennis: Even though they sustained a narrow 5-4 loss to American River in one of their matches, the Renegades closed with a 7-0 win over Foothill and emerged on the winning Southern California side of the second annual Pfister Cup. Sage Nguyen went undefeated, as did the Brett Yackovich-Lucas Sprecht doubles pairing. BC will face Ventura Thursday in a rain-delayed matchup.
Softball: They were only able to play one of their three scheduled games this past week due to rain, but the Renegades answered the call, beating Citrus 3-0 last Thursday. Ryleigh Harrison pitched her fourth complete-game shutout of the year and Shelbie Valencia drove a two-run home run to center field to boost BC's record to 12-7. The Renegades are now slated to play at Canyons Thursday afternoon.
Swimming: BC had a successful home meet against Fresno and Sequoias. On the women's side, Kristyn Feola led the way with three wins in the 200 IM, 100 fly and 100 IM, as Aimee Arredondo added two more and Emma Jeffries one. The men's team got first-place showings from Enrique Preciado in both individual medley events as well, and Elijah Hill and Jay Hill took home one more win apiece.
Track and field: Tucker Monaco won the decathlon for the men's team on Friday at the BC Relays and Multis, and the hosts saw additional success the following day. Francisco Felix built on his strong season by winning the 1,500 meters in 4:04.58. Both the men's and women's squads won the 3,000 steeplechase behind Edgar Merlos and Crystal Raya, with Raya picking up a second victory as well in the 800 meters. Thrower Tearra Haney continued her successful campaign by winning the hammer and javelin events, while finishing second in the shot put. The Renegades will host another conference meet on Friday.
Women's tennis: Faced with road matches on consecutive days, BC won both. The Renegades beat Santa Monica 7-2 before matching their February win over Ventura with another 6-3 result, sweeping doubles and adding singles wins by Grecia De La Cruz, Hannah Purvis and Abigail Reimer. BC has won 10 of its last 12 and has just two postponed matches remaining in the regular season. First up is Sequoias at home on Friday.
Miscellaneous and looking ahead: BC beach volleyball lost 5-0 to Ventura and will host its first home matches in Bakersfield in four years at CSUB on Friday ... Men's golf is back on the course in San Dimas Monday ... Women's wrestling is in Sacramento for a tournament Saturday.
Cal State Bakersfield
Baseball: Despite much-improved pitching, the Roadrunners sustained three losses in their opening Big West Conference series at UCSB. They got closest to a win on Sunday when they entered the ninth inning tied 4-4, but left two runners on base before the Gauchos walked off on an Ivan Brethowr single. CSUB came back home the next day for a rare Monday afternoon game against Pacific and had much more offensive success, scoring in seven straight innings of a 12-6 victory to improve to 8-11. The Roadrunners will travel to face UC San Diego beginning Friday.
Beach volleyball: After a pair of tough 3-2 losses in San Jose on Friday, the Roadrunners came back to beat San Francisco 5-0 and Oregon 4-1, improving to 8-3 on the year. They will be tested at the Bigger West Invitational in San Luis Obispo, which features six matchups against conference foes beginning Friday.
Softball: CSUB was a team transformed on Friday, coming back after 3-0 and 8-1 losses the prior day to rout UCSD 10-2 in five innings. It was the Roadrunners' first run-rule victory since 2016, and came as a result of three-RBI performances from Ciara Jensen and Savanna Montoya. Jensen, a North Dakota State transfer, entered the UCSD series 2-for-9 on the year but went 5-for-9 across her first three conference games. The Roadrunners will travel to face a formidable Cal State Fullerton squad Friday.
Track and field: Miranda Miller and Riley Slayton picked up one more win each, while Jacob Yagers earned his first of the year, at a track meet in Fresno. CSUB will return to action in Cal Poly Friday.
Wrestling: After a narrow win over Northwestern's Chris Cannon last Thursday, CSUB's lone NCAA Tournament qualifier Chance Rich bowed out with losses to NC State's Kai Orine and Michigan's Dylan Ragusin, concluding the Roadrunners' season.
Miscellaneous and looking ahead: The men's and women's basketball teams each lost their top post player to the transfer portal this week, with Antavion Collum announcing his entry Saturday and Hennie van Schaik Monday ... Women's golf will look to continue its strong spring campaign in Fresno Monday.