BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—Ryan Grotjohn recorded his fourth 4-hit performance of 2017 as CSU Bakersfield defeated Utah Valley 9-5 Friday night at Hardt Field. Grotjohn went 4-for-4 with three RBI’s as he recorded his 15th multi-hit game in 30 starts this season.
“Ryan had a quiet four hits again,” said CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard. “He seems confident in the batters’ box and he’s not getting fooled by pitches.”
Roadrunners got on the board in the bottom of the first on RBI singles from Grotjohn and Mahlik Jones. A CSUB two-out error in the top of the third led to two Wolverines’ runs and a tie game.
Mark Pena and Andrew Penner posted back-to-back singles to open the Roadrunner fifth. Regining WAC Pitcher of the Week Jake Mayer got the next two outs before Grotjohn singled to right to plate Pena. Jones followed with an opposite field single to right to score Penner. Jake Ortega followed with a triple to the gap in right center to drive in Grotjohn and Jones. Logan Hold relieved Mayer and struck out Cole Valletta to end the inning.
The Wolverines clawed back into the game in the top of the sixth. Trevor Peterson doubled to begin the inning. With one out, Zac Willis singled through the left side. With runners on the corners, Jake Berry reached on the third CSUB error of the game as Peterson scored. Jones relieved CSUB starter Andrew Hansen to face Callahan Moltzan worked the count to 3-2 before striking out on a Jones 89-mph fastball. Paul Estrada singled up the middle to score Willis. Jake Atkinson struck out to end the inning.
David Modler led off the Utah Valley seventh with a single to left. Trevor Howell followed with a single. Peterson flew out to right to bring up Overlund, the Wolverines’ clean-up hitter. Overlund walked to load the bases. Isaiah Moten relieved Jones. His first batter was Willis who walked on five pitches, which allowed Modler to score. Pinch-hitter Justin Erlandson grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to keep the Roadrunners up by one.
David Metzgar got the CSUB seventh to a good start with a single. Protecting Metzgar who was running on the play, Max Carter, hit a chopper over the first base for a single. Metzgar advanced to third on the play. With a Logan Holt 1-0 count on Grotjohn, lefty Marco Briones entered the game. Grotjohn singled up the middle to score Metzgar. Down 0-2 in the count, Jones went opposite field again, tripling to right to score Carter and Grotjohn. Briones struck out the remaining three CSUB hitters of the inning to minimize the damage.
“The turning point for me, was the hit and run with Carter,” Beard said. “He didn’t get a good pitch to hit, but he executes the play and its runners on first and third. It was a one-run game, the tempo changed and we scored and some runs after it.”
CSUB closer Naithen Dewnsap came on in the ninth. After striking out Modler, Howell singled up the middle for his third hit of the game. Peterson struck out. Overlund grounded out to second to end the game.
Jones was 3-for-4 with four RBI’s. Pena also tallied two hits. Metzgar’s first inning infield single extended his hitting streak to 13. The 13-game hitting streak is the seventh longest in school history (tied with Jones in 2016 and Oscar Sanay in 2011). The CSUB second baseman has reached base in 27 consecutive games, tying him with Tyler Shyrock (2013) for the third longest streak in school history. Metzgar recorded his team leading 16th multi-hit game by earning a 2-for-4 performance. Hansen improved to 3-0 on the year as he only gave up one earned run.
“I thought tonight was a hard fought baseball game,” Beard said. “We took advantage of getting some pitches to hit as Hansen gave us a really good starting performance. We finished the game with some strong pitching and timely hitting.”
The series between CSUB (18-12, 5-6 WAC) and Utah Valley (11-22, 4-4 WAC) concludes Saturday as CSUB looks for the series sweep. Corey Costelloe’s pregame show on 1230 AM/98.1 FM ESPN begins at 11:45 p.m. The Roadrunner Digital Network coverage via Youtube.com gets underway at 12 p.m.