BAKERSFIELD, Calif.-- The Roadrunners took on North Dakota to open the second WAC home stand of the season on Friday night. Bakersfield won by a score of 4-1.
The ‘Runners got on the board early with one run in the first inning. A leadoff walk from Jordie Hein (Jr., Scottsdale, Ariz., Chapparal HS) followed by a single to center field by Max Carter (Fr., Bakersfield, Calif., Stockdale HS) put runners on the corners for Oscar Sanay (Jr., Chula Vista, Calif., Bonita Vista HS). The shortstop put down a well-placed bunt to the right side that allowed Hein to score on a sacrifice to give Bakersfield a 1-0 lead.
Bakersfield struck again in the bottom of the third for two more runs to take a 3-0 lead. Hein got the offense started with a leadoff single and promptly reached third after stealing second and advancing on a throwing error by the catcher. A hit batter and two RBI hits later from Soloman Williams (Jr., Long Beach, Calif., Golden West College) and Mylz Jones (So., Palmdale, Calif., Paraclete HS) gave the 'Runners a comfortable lead.
Taylor Aikenhead (Sr., Lancaster, Calif., Bakersfield College) was dealing early for the ‘Runners as he recorded four swinging strikeouts in just the first two innings. UND threatened in the top of the fifth with a runner on third, but Aikenhead’s seventh strikeout of the night prevented any damage.
The ‘Runners had men on first and second in the bottom of the fifth with two outs and a single sent Carter home. A nice relay from right field gunned Carter down at the plate and kept the score at 3-0. Aikenhead got into trouble quickly in the top of the sixth with two men on and only one out, but he picked off the runner at second and induced a groundout to end any idea of breaking the shutout.
Bakersfield’s starting pitcher became a connoisseur of getting out of trouble as Aikenhead managed to end each of the first eight innings with exactly one runner left on base. The ‘Runners took their 3-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth when Carter came up with the bases loaded and one out. A sacrifice fly would tack on an insurance run and give the ‘Runners a four-run cushion heading into the top of the ninth.
Carter moved over to close out the ninth inning and, despite loading the bases and giving up one run, finished the job while preserving the win for Aikenhead. The starting pitcher finished the night with eight scoreless innings pitched, giving up five hits and walking four while striking out 10 batters. Hein and Jones each finished the game going three for four while the latter added an RBI. Williams also provided the offense with a pair of hits and an RBI as the ‘Runners cruised against North Dakota.
Bakersfield (9-11, 2-2 WAC) will return to Hard Field for another night game against UND (2-11, 2-2 WAC) on Saturday before finishing out the series with an afternoon game on Sunday.