A lot of the players on the Cal State Bakersfield baseball team were “super frustrated,” according to first baseman Jesse Rowley.
The Roadrunners entered their weekend series tied with Northern Colorado for last place in the Western Athletic Conference. Then CSUB dropped the first game of the series and its 10th in a row to earn sole possession of the worst record in the conference.
“We (were) hitting well in a lot of these games and for the most part we (were) pitching well,” Rowley said. “There’s just this one inning in all of these games and then we end up losing by one or two and it’s frustrating. Three walk-off (losses) in one month, that’s just unheard of and it just sucks.”
But Saturday was precisely the type of game that CSUB needed.
Bakersfield (17-24, 5-10 WAC) scored in every inning it batted in and racked up 17 hits to beat Northern Colorado (8-25, 4-11), 16-4, at Hardt Field. The game ended after seven innings because of a 10-run mercy rule in the WAC. CSUB was up 11-0 by the time UNC scored its first run.
The win gave the Roadrunners the series victory and moved them into a tie for seventh place (out of 10 teams) in the conference.
“Very relieving,” Rowley said of the win. “Very nice.”
Rowley went 4-for-4 at the plate on Saturday and walked once. He was one of five CSUB players with two runs batted in and snagged three of the team’s five stolen bases.
He knocked in the team’s first run by beating out a grounder to short for a single and lined a ball to center to put CSUB up 4-0 in the second.
Third baseman Tyler Jorgensen finished 3-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Jorgensen’s single in the fourth allowed him to later score as CSUB’s 10th run of the game, putting the Roadrunners in position to end the contest early.
Jorgensen, who coincidentally wears No. 10, smacked a solo home run to right field in the sixth to give the Roadrunners a 14-4 lead and bring the mercy rule back into play.
“When you can separate the score the way we did today, we haven’t done that much this year,” CSUB head coach Jeremy Beard said. “We’ve played a lot of tight games. It’s commanded a lot of attention in our bullpen and the details start to get exploited a little bit here and there. So when you have a little separation, there’s a looseness and a calmness about the game with our guys. So yeah it’s important that we put up a big number today.”
Northern Colorado’s four runs all came in the fifth off of five walks, a hit batter and a three-run home run by Jake Pauley. UNC only had one hit in that inning and two the entire game. The Bears also struggled in the field, committing five errors, which led to nine unearned runs.
West High School graduate and UNC freshman Logan Wensley threw 2/3 of an inning, giving up a home run, a walk and three runs (one earned). He also hit a batter.
CSUB will host nationally-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Monday at 6 p.m. and head to UC Riverside on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game.
CSUB pitching coach Yoon fired
Beard has removed volunteer pitching coach Younjin Yoon, who was in his first season at CSUB, from the coaching staff.
“There’s always tough decisions to make, but when you feel it’s time to make them, I have to,” Beard said.
Beard, who was a pitching coach before taking the helm, and team manager Naithen Dewsnap will work with the pitchers on a day-to-day basis. Dewsnap holds the program record for saves in a single season and career.
“These guys won’t miss a beat,” Beard said. “They know what they need to do and they understand what the program philosophies are and the culture we have here.”