LINCOLN, Neb. — Another solid offensive performance by the CSUB baseball team, along with some big plays in the final innings by the defense and closer Erik Draxton led the Roadrunners to an 8-7 win over Nebraska Sunday at Hawks Field. Bakersfield also won Saturday’s game, 10-8, thus claiming the 2-1 series victory over the Big 12 Huskers.
Bakersfield (11-32) was the first team to put a run on the board for the third consecutive game when freshman catcher Jeremy Rodriguez belted his first home run of the year, a solo shot over the right field fence in the top of the second.
The Roadrunners tacked on five runs in the fourth, using three hits and five walks in the inning. Richard Escalera led off with a single, advanced to second on a Rodriguez walk, advanced to third on a Martin Medina walk and scored when Stuart Smith grounded into a double play. Nebraska pitcher Sean Yost then walked Derek Geisinger and with runners on first and third, JJ Henry laid down a squeeze bunt single, sending Rodriguez home. Kyle Richardson then launched a three-run homer to right-center, his third home run of the series, to put Bakersfield ahead 6-0.
After Yost issued his fifth walk of the inning, putting Boren on first, reliever Casey Hauptman was able to get Escalera to ground out to first to end the Roadrunner rally.
With two-outs in the bottom of the fourth, Nebraska’s Jeff Tezak singled, advanced to second on a balk and scored on a single through the left side by Jake Mort. Nick Sullivan then launched a two-run home run to right-center, cutting the CSUB lead to 6-3. The Huskers added another run in the fifth courtesy of a solo home run by Khiry Cooper to make it 6-4.
In the sixth, Bakersfield pushed the lead back to four with a two-RBI double by Escalera. Henry, who had reached on a throwing error by Nebraska shortstop Kyle Bubak, and Ryan McIntyre, who reached after being hit by a pitch, both scored on the play.
The Huskers (22-28-1) pulled to within one in the sixth with a two-out, three-run output. Mort reached on a hit by pitch and Sullivan singled to right-center, moving Mort to third. Bubak drew a walk to load the bases and Cody Neer was hit by pitch, sending Mort home. Cooper and Boomer Collins drew back-to-back walks to send two more runs across home plate before Adam Bailey flied out to right to end the inning.
Bakersfield starting pitcher Jonathan Montoya walked Sullivan to lead off the bottom of the eighth for Nebraska, and the Roadrunners went to the bullpen, bringing in Draxton who promply retired the side with a pair of strikeouts and a ground out to third.
In the bottom of the ninth, Draxton walked the leadoff batter, Collins, then got Bailey to foul fly out to right and Farst to fly out to center before finishing things off on his own with a strikeout looking by Tezak. Making his first appearance since Apr. 21, and just his second relief appearance, Draxton picked up his first save of the season.
Montoya issued five strikeouts while allowing seven runs on six hits and five walks in 7 innings, improving to 4-5 overall.
Richardson pushed his hitting streak to seven consecutive games, turning in a 2-for-4 performance, including a three-run home run. Escalera also had a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs, while Boren added two hits in four at bats.
Yost took the loss for Nebraska, dropping to 1-5 after giving up five hits and six walks for six runs in 3 2/3 innings. Hauptman struck out three and scattered four hits for two runs in the final 5 2/3.
The Huskers had six hits in the game, including two by Sullivan and one each by Cooper, Tezak, Mort and Bubak.
The Roadrunners return to the midwest and the Big 12 next week, traveling to Columbia, Mo., for a three-game series at the University of Missouri on Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 17.
Score by Innings R H E
CSU Bakersfield..... 010 502 000 - 8 9 0
NEBRASKA............ 000 313 000 - 7 6 1
Win - Montoya (4-5). Loss - Yost, S. (1-5). Save - Draxton (1).
E - Bubak, K.(8). DP - Cornhuskers 2. LOB - Roadrunners 9; Cornhuskers 7. 2B - Boren(7); Escalera(4). HR - Richardson(5); Rodriguez(1); Cooper, K.(2); Sullivan, N.(6). HBP - McIntyre 2; Geisinger; Mort, J.; Neer, C.. SH - Richardson(3). SB - Sullivan, N.(4).