LAS VEGAS, Nev. – CSU Bakersfield's softball team opened the 2017 season on Friday with a pair of games at UNLV's Sporto Kick Off Classic. The Roadrunners fell in both games while upperclassmen led the way.
CSUB's head coach Crissy Buck-Ziegler gave the starting nod to junior transfer Summer Evans in the season opener. After an outstanding first two years at Palomar College, the native of Escondido, Calif. earned trust in her head coach to take the circle against a Louisville squad that received votes in the first Top 25 poll of the season. Evans pitched very well in the first two innings, retiring the first six Cardinals in order.
CSUB took the first lead of the game in the bottom of the second inning. Junior Nicole Curry led the inning off with a seven-pitch walk and advanced to second on Nadia Amezcua’s single up the middle. After freshman Cydney Curran walked with two outs, junior Julea Cavazos tallied her first RBI of the season with a single up the middle, putting the ‘Runners ahead 1-0.
A pair of errors in the top of the third led to four runs for the Cardinals, two of which were unearned. The ‘Runners answered right back in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own to make the score 4-2. A throwing error was followed by a Jo Larios walk and Amezcua reaching base after being hit by a pitch. With two outs, senior Josie Flores drove in the run with a single to center field.
The game took a turn for the worst for CSUB in the fourth and fifth innings and Louisville piled on the runs. The Cardinals scored five in the fourth thanks in part to Maryssa Becker’s grand slam. Becker added a three-run shot in the fifth en route to four more runs for Louisville, which extended its lead to 13-2.
CSUB went down in order in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game. Cavazos, an outfielder from Temecula, Calif., led the ‘Runners from the lead-off spot, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Amezcua and Flores added the other two hits for CSUB in the loss.
Evans took the loss on Friday, pitching 4.2 innings while 10 of the 13 runs were earned. Sophomore Alley Stockton came in to the game in the fifth to get the final out of the inning.
After a scoreless first inning against Southern Utah, the ‘Runners got out to their second early lead of the day. Amezcua, a sophomore from Downey, Calif., hit the first home run of the season for Bakersfield to put CSUB ahead 1-0.
The Thunderbirds answered right back with a pair of runs thanks to a pair of triples, taking a 2-1 lead over CSUB. In the third inning, SUU used two singles, a walk, two hit batters, and a sacrifice fly to bring three runs around and extend its lead to 5-1.
Bakersfield responded with another run in the top of the fourth to make the score 5-2. After junior Kaylynn Burt walked, Flores singled to center and set freshman Curran up for her first collegiate RBI. The native of Ewa Beach, Hawai’i brought Burt around with a single, but the Thunderbirds put up another run in the bottom half of the fourth to go ahead 6-2.
The ‘Runners started a two-out rally in the top of the fifth when Curry drew a walk. Amezcua tallied her third hit of the day with a single and Burt walked to load the bases. Flores drove in her second RBI of the day with another single, but the ‘Runner rally was halted at just one with the bases loaded.
CSUB trailed 6-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning before Southern Utah put another run on the board. The ‘Runners were unable to mount a last-inning rally and fell by a final score of 7-3.
Amezcua went 2-for-4 in the game while Flores went 2-for-3 and both had an RBI. Curran was 1-for-2 with the other RBI while Burt reached base twice on walks.
Senior Lyndsay Klimenko started in the circle for CSUB and pitched the first two innings before Stockton came on in relief again. The sophomore from Delhi, Calif. pitched well, throwing four complete innings while allowing just two runs (one unearned).
On Saturday, the ‘Runners will return to Jim Rogers Field in Las Vegas for another pair of games. At 1:30 p.m., CSUB will take on Indiana State, which started the tournament with a 4-3 loss to Virginia Tech and an 11-5 victory over host UNLV. At 6:00 p.m., the ‘Runners will take on the Hokies of Virginia Tech, who fell to UNLV 10-2 after their loss to Indiana State.
Live stats for both of those games will be available and can be found at the CSUB softball schedule page.