LAS CRUCES, N.M. – In what was one of the wildest games in Western Athletic Conference Tournament history, the Roadrunner softball team found itself trailing the UMKC Kangaroos by 15 runs in the third inning. CSU Bakersfield battled down to the last out, but the ‘Runners fell by a score of 20-10 and were eliminated from the tournament.
“We're trying to continue to build a program and that takes time,” said Crissy Buck-Ziegler, Head Coach of the ‘Runners. “It takes grit and determination. The four seniors we had definitely had that. They left their legacy. I couldn't be more proud of all of them.”
Buck-Ziegler commented on her team's determination to not give up after finding itself in a big hole: “We really did finish strong. No matter what the scoreboard said, everyone in the stands, on the sidelines, and watching at home really thought we had a chance there. We believed we had a chance and that's that we want our program to start having, belief that we always have a chance.”
The ‘Roos got out to an early lead thanks to back-to-back fielding errors by the ‘Runners. With the bases loaded and two outs, Megan Rollow hit a bases-clearing double to plate three unearned runs in the first.
In the top of the third, Kelsey Goodwin hit a one-out triple to set up a solid scoring opportunity for the ‘Roos. Rollow hit an infield single to tally her fourth RBI of the game before Leah Lombardini hit a three-run home run to make the score 7-0. After senior Lyndsay Klimenko came in to relieve, the ‘Roos added eight more runs before CSUB was able to get out of the inning.
Trailing 15-0, the ‘Runners got straight to work, loading the bases in the bottom half of the third. With one out, senior Jo Larios hit her second grand slam of the season to make the score 15-4.
After UMKC tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth, CSUB found itself trailing 18-4. The ‘Runners proceeded to load the bases again in the bottom half of the inning and Kaylynn Burt delivered CSUB's second grand slam of the game. The ‘Roos added two more runs in the top of the fifth, scoring a WAC Tournament single-game record 20 runs.
Down to their final three outs due to the run rule, the ‘Runners continued to battle. Nicole Curry earned a walk and Nadia Amezcua singled to put a pair of ‘Runners on base. Karah Wiseman's RBI single put up another CSUB run before Burt's sacrifice fly recorded her fifth RBI of the game. The ‘Runner rally would end there as CSUB came up short, falling by a final score of 20-10.
Evans took the loss after pitching 4.1 innings. The junior finished the season with a final record of 8-14 and has one more year to be an impact player for the team. CSUB's offense was as potent as ever on Friday afternoon. All but two ‘Runner starters tallied hits while every single one reached base safely at least once.
Burt and Larios led the ‘Runner offense, tallying a pair of hits each while Burt had the second-most RBI in a single game in CSUB's Division I history (5). Larios was close behind with four RBI while Wiseman added the 10th and final RBI of the game.
With the loss, CSU Bakersfield's season has come to an end with a final record of 12-33. The Roadrunners tallied 16 home runs on the year, their most since the 2015 season, and had one of its most well-balanced offenses in years. CSUB's four seniors, Larios, Klimenko, Selena Gonzalez, and Josie Flores will leave the program with a strong legacy of heart, determination, and ‘Runner pride.