BAKERSFIELD, Calif.-- Bakersfield baseball opened its 2014 WAC play against Grand Canyon. The ‘Runners defeated the Antelopes by a score of 4-2.
Taylor Aikenhead (Sr., Lancaster, Calif., Bakersfield College) took the mound to start the game for the ‘Runners and started strong with two swinging strikeouts in the first inning. Aikenhead’s counterpart, Jorge Perez, came out of the gate with a bit more trouble as Oscar Sanay (Sr., Chula Vista, Calif., Bonita Vista HS) doubled with two outs. Soloman Williams (Jr., ) ignited an offensive explosion with a monster hit that one-hopped the center field wall and stayed in for a stand-up, RBI double. Chance Gusbeth (So., Lancaster, Calif., Desert Christian HS) followed up with an RBI single and Nick Vehlewald (So., Bakersfield, Calif., Garces HS) added a double over the right fielder’s head. The fourth hit of the inning gave the ‘Runners a 3-0 lead over the ‘Lopes.
Grand Canyon got one run back in the top of the third after Josh Ethier reached base and eventually scored from third on a passed ball. After the first inning, Perez coasted until the bottom of the fifth inning. The ‘Runners had men on first and second with only one out, but Perez was able to get GCU out of the inning unscathed and still trailing 3-1.
The ‘Lopes cut their deficit in half with a run in the top of the sixth inning. With a runner on base, Aikenhead induced an easy fly ball to left field that was dropped. As there were two outs, the base runner had taken off around the bases and scored easily when the ball was not caught. Aikenhead went on to induce another fly ball to end the inning immediately after.
Mylz Jones (So., Palmdale, Calif., Paraclete HS) led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double down the left field line. Sanay’s fly ball to center looked too close to move Jones over, but the sophomore speedster put on his running shoes and slide into third safely. Williams sent a ball into left field and despite a solid trow, Jones slide in safely to give the ‘Runners a 4-2 lead.
Aikenhead came out in the ninth to finish what he started and wasted little time. Despite giving up a leadoff walk to the ‘Lopes, Aikenhead struck out the next batter, then induced back-to-back groundouts to preserve the 4-2 win and complete game. Williams contributed to the offense with two RBI while Gusbeth and Vehlewald added one each.
Bakersfield (7-9) will return to Hardt Field tomorrow at 6 p.m. to continue its series against Grand Canyon (7-9) while the final game of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m.