BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Playing its 2009 season-opener, and the first-ever baseball game for a Roadrunner team, CSUB nearly pulled off a thrilling ninth inning comeback, but came up just short in an 8-7 loss to St. Louis University Friday at Hardt Field.

Down 8-3 headed into the final half inning, Bakersfield (0-1) put together four hits to score four runs, but was unable to push the tying run across the plate as St. Louis’ closer Chaz Salembier recorded a pair of strikeouts to end the game.  

Roadrunner starting pitcher Mickey Jannis opened the game with a strikeout, followed by a fly out to center field. Danny Brock recorded the first hit at the newly dedicated Hardt Field, but Jannis forced a ground out to keep the Billikens (1-0) scoreless in the first.

Shortstop Kyle Richardson put the ‘Runners up 1-0 in the bottom of the second when he slammed a one-out, first-pitch over the right field fence for a solo home run.

The solo shot ended up being the first of five home runs on the day as teammate Stuart Smith blasted a two RBI shot to right in the fourth inning, while St. Louis’ Andrew Guerra had a two home runs and Zach Miller had one.

In the top of the sixth, St. Louis broke open a 3-3 tie by scoring a pair of runs. Ryan Bennett opened the inning by reaching on an error by CSUB’s Richardson, advanced to second on a Brock single and scored on a single up the middle by Ben Braaten. Bennett later scored on a passed ball to make it 5-3.

In the seventh and eighth, the Billikens manufactured three more runs, including Guerra’s second homer of the day, to take a commanding 8-3 lead.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, CSUB’s Joey Mills started the comeback by reaching on an error by the Billikens’ second baseman. Brandon Boren followed with a single to center, scoring Mills. Richardson then singled to left and a Martin Medina double to left pushed Boren across the plate, cutting the difference to 8-5. Jeremy Rodriguez continued the rally with a two RBI single to left before Salembier entered the game and recorded the final two strikeouts.

Scott Turmail earned the win for St. Louis, striking out two, while scattering eight hits for three runs in 5.2 innings.

Jannis took the loss for CSUB, striking out six, while giving up nine hits and seven runs, including five earned. Rodriguez led the ‘Runner offense, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Boren, Richardson, Medina and Ryan McIntyre each tallied a pair of hits.

The Roadrunners and Billikens conclude their three-game series Saturday in a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. at Hardt Field.

Score by Innings                   R  H  E
St. Louis University 011 102 210 -  8 11  1
CSU Bakersfield..... 100 200 004 -  7 14  1

Win - Turmail (1-0).  Loss - Jannis (0-1).  Save - Salembier (1).
E - Miller(1); Richardson(1). DP - SLU 2. LOB - SLU 5; CSUB 8. 2B - Brock(1); Dunn
2(2); Boren(1); Medina 2(2); McIntyre(1). HR - Guerra 2(2); Miller(1);
Richardson(1); Smith(1). HBP - Medina. SH - Cotter(1). SB - McIntyre(1).