BAKERSFIELD, Calif.— Dylan Christensen (Sr., Rancho Santa Margarita HS) posted two hits, drove in two runs and earned his second save of the season as CSU Bakersfield defeated LIU Brooklyn 5-3 Friday night.
For the sixth time in nine games, the Roadrunners trailed after the top of the first. The Blackbirds broke the seal in the opening inning when Kevin Needham singled in Pete Leonello. Garrett Pierce (So., Bakersfield, Calif., Centennial HS) tied the score in the second when he tripled in Cael Brockmeyer (Jr., Vineyard Haven, Mass., Avon Old Farms HS).
An RBI single from Chance Gusbeth (Fr., Lancaster, Calif., Desert Christian HS) plated Pierce for CSUB’s firs t lead of the night. Christensen extended the lead to three with a two-RBI double later in the frame. The Blackbirds put the first two on in the top of the third, but Roadrunner pitcher Jeff McKenzie (Sr., El Dorado Hills, Calif., San Joaquin Delta College) picked both runners off to quiet the Blackbirds.
A Kevin Needham single scored John Ziznewski in the top of the sixth, but McKenzie got Albert Faz to ground into a double play to end the threat. The Blackbirds pushed runners to second and third with one out in the top of the eight. CSUB responded by bringing in Christensen, the Roadrunners’ closer for a five-out save attempt.
The 5-11 righty faced Ziznewski, LIU’s No. 3 batter to begin his stint. Ziznewski grounded out to short for out No. 2, but he was able to drive in Kyle DeMarco for a 4-3 CSUB lead. Needham, the cleanup batter, struck out looking for the third out.
After giving up the runs in the fourth, Blackbirds’ starter Justin Topa retired 16 in a row heading into the CSUB eighth when leadoff hitter Jordie Hein (So., Scottsdale, Ariz., Chapparal HS) doubled to left. Christenen beat out a bunt single to third, Hein moved to third and came home on a Albert Faz throwing error to move the score to 5-3.
Christensen struck out the first two batters of the ninth and got a ground out to second to end the game for the save. Needham and Leonello had two hits for the Blackbirds. McKenzie improved to 2-1 as he struck out five in six innings. Topa would strike out eight.
The teams meet again Saturday night at 6 p.m.