BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—A four-run seventh inning proved to be the difference as CSU Bakersfield defeated CSUN 4-2 Tuesday night.
CSUB starter Garrett Nimmo faced the minimum through three before giving up a leadoff double to Alvaro Rubalcaba. Justin Toerner laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to advance Rubalcaba to third. The Matadors’ leading hitter, Kevin Riley, drove in Rubalcaba with a grounder to short. Max Carter worked out a one-out walk against CSUN starter Ray Diaz in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Grotjohn, Division I’s fifth leading hitter, singled to right to move Carter to second. Mahlik Jones grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Nolan Bumstead walked to begin the Matador fifth. After Dylan Alexander fouled out, Nick Sablock grounded out to second. Bumstead advanced to second on the play. Michael Russo doubled down the left field line to plate Bumstead. Fred Smith would ground out to second to keep the ‘Runners down two. Rubalcaba led off the sixth with a single to center and stole second. Toerner failed to sacrifice Rubalcaba over and popped out to second. With the count 0-2 on Riley, Rubalcaba attempted to steal third, but CSUB catcher Jake Ortega threw him out. Riley grounded out to short to end the inning.
Grotjohn led off the ‘Runner seventh with a single and moved to second on a Jones sacrifice bunt. Ortega bunted. Ryan fielded the ball. His throw got away from Riley as Grotjohn rounded third. Grotjohn kept moving to score the first CSUB run. Pinch hitter Christian Deaton walked. CSUB loaded the bases as a pitch hit Brandon Heinrich.
Toerner came in from centerfield to relieve Ryan. His first batter was Pena who walked to score Ortega to tie the game. Andrew Penner hit a ball into right that was deep enough for Deaton to score which gave the Roadrunners their first lead of the night. Two consecutive Toerner wild pitches resulted in Heinrich coming home for the fourth CSUB run.
“Nothing was going right for us offensively until the seventh,” said. CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard. “We wanted to put some pressure on them with the bunt. They made some mistakes and we took advantage of them.”
Isaiah Moten relieved Nimmo to begin the eighth. With one out, Smith singled down the left field line. Moten struck out Rubalcaba looking. CSUB called upon its closer, Naithen Dewsnap to face Toerner. He quickly got a 6-4 fielder’s choice for the third out. Dewnsap struck out the side in the ninth for his sixth save.
Grotjohn and Ortega both had two hits. Metzgar extended his hitting streak to 11 with an infield single in the bottom of the first. He has now reached base in 25 consecutive games, the sixth longest such streak in school history. Rubalcaba had two of the fifth CSUN (16-18) hits. Nimmo allowed four hits in seven innings while striking out four.
“I was so proud of Garrett tonight,” said Beard. “He made pitches all night long. He did a good job of competing against a very good hitting team.”
The Roadrunners (16-12, 3-6 WAC) return to league action Thursday when Utah Valley (11-19, 4-2 WAC) travel to Hardt Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on the Roadrunner Digital Network. Corey Costelloe’s pregame show on 1230 AM/98.1 FM ESPN begins at 5:45 p.m.