BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—CSU Bakersfield’s Ryan Grotjohn went 6-for-8 at the plate as CSU Bakersfield and defending Pac-12 champion Utah opened the 2017 season by playing a doubleheader Saturday at Hardt Field.
CSU Bakersfield defeated Utah 6-5 in the opener. The Utes began the scoring in the top of the first when Hunter Simmons singled in Dallas Carroll. The ‘Runners took the lead in the bottom of the second on a pair of RBI’s from David Metzgar and Mark Pena. Carroll tied the score at two in the third with a sacrifice fly that plated DaShawn Kiersey, Jr.
A Metzgar triple and an Andrew Penner RBI single in the fourth returned the lead to CSUB. Utah tied the score in the sixth. With one out, the Utes loaded the bases. Kenny Johnson relieved starter Max Carter for the Roadrunners and walked Max Schuman for the third run. Kiersey, Jr. knotted the game with a sac fly that scored Chandler Anderson.
Max Carter got the CSUB seventh underway with a single down the left field line. Cole Valletta pinch ran for Carter, the ‘Runner starting pitcher/designated hitter. Ryan Grotjohn picked up his fourth hit of the game, a single through the right side. Both ‘Runners advanced 90 feet on a passed ball. Mark Pena singled to shortstop to drive in Valletta. Pena stole second before Junior Felix walked to load the bases. Metzgar’s line drive to right was deep enough to score Grotjohn.
Utah put up the final run of the game in the eighth when Oliver Dunn’s infield single scored Connor McNally. The Utes put two runners on in the eighth, but CSUB reliever Nathen Dewsnap pitched out of the jam by striking out the final two Utes of the inning.
With one out in the ninth, Wade Gulden reached on a Dewsnap fielding error. Anderson lined out to center before pincher Jake Portaro struck out looking to end the game. Grotjohn was 4-for-4 with three runs scored. Pena went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s. Penner was 2-for-4 while Metzgar drove in three runs. Five Utah players each recorded two hits.
Utah defeated CSUB 7-5 in the nightcap. The teams were scoreless through three innings before the Utes loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth. Roadrunner starter Mahlik Jones got DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. to hit a grounder to Carter at first to wrap up the frame.
Grotjohn’s sixth hit of the day, with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, scored Penner to break the seal for the Roadrunners. Pena followed with a triple to right center to score two more for the ‘Runners. The Utes responded with back-to-back hits to begin the fifth. Adam Coats relieved Jones to face Simmons. Simmons would walk on four pitches to load them up for Josh Rose.
Rose doubled to the gap in right center to score two. Isaiah Moten relieved Coats. His first batter was Max Schuman who struck out. Down 1-2 in the count, Anderson lined a shot up the middle to drive in the tying run. Zak Moeller struck out, but Anderson and Rose successfully completed a double steal from first and third. Rose scored the go-ahead run on the play. Moten got Ellis Kelly to fly out to right for the final out.
Jake Ortega led off the CSUB fifth with a single and moved to third on a Metzgar single. Metzgar took second on the throw from left. With two ‘Runners in scoring position, freshman Austyn Tengan singled to right to score both Ortega and Metzgar.
Rose singled to lead off the seventh. Pinch hitter Connor McNally put down a successful sacrifice bunt to advance Rose to second. Moten hit Anderson to put the go-ahead run at first base. Pinch-hitter Wade Gulden singled to right to load the bases. Kelly singled to right to drive in Rose. Anderson scored from second on a CSUB error to return the lead to the Utes. Keirsey, Jr. lined a shot off Moten’s leg that resulted in an infield single and the seventh Utah run. CSUB reliever Steven Gee recorded the final two outs to keep the score 7-5
Jacob Rebar, who entered the game in the sixth, pitched the final four innings, striking out nine, to pick up the victory. Anderson went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Rose was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI’s. Grotjohn was 2-for-4 in game two with an RBI. Carter also had two hits.
"I thought we had played well and some really good at-bats," said CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard. "We made some really good pitches and played really good defense. Ryan had a great day. He shortened up his swing a bit and focused on putting the ball in play."
The teams conclude the series Sunday afternoon, beginning at 12 p.m.