BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – CSU Bakersfield’s softball team dropped a pair of games at home to a strong CSUN squad on Sunday afternoon. The Matadors took the first game 10-2 in six innings before earning a 9-2 victory in the second game of the doubleheader.
“I don’t feel we played very well today,” said Crissy Buck-Ziegler, Head Coach of the ‘Runners. “I think we looked tired from the weekend and we have to understand how to bounce back. I feel that we could have given more. I know that was hard a thing that we did, going to Cal Poly and then coming back home the next day, but I think we could have done better and matured more in that area.”
When asked about opening Western Athletic Conference play next weekend, Buck-Ziegler said there was one key to prepare for that series: “Accountability, trying to figure out how they can take more onto themselves and be better individually, for the group.”
With two outs in the top of the first inning, CSUN’s Jessica Alexander sent a towering fly ball over the left field fence for a solo home run. CSUB’s starter, Chris Hipa, got the ‘Runners out of the inning down just 1-0. In the bottom half of the frame, the ‘Runners loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a pair of CSUN errors and a hit by pitch, but CSUB was unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
The wind carried out to left center the whole game and CSUN’s big swingers took advantage of the elements. Tara Kliebenstein, CSUN’s second baseman, hit a three-run homer to the gap as the Matadors took a 4-0 lead over the ‘Runners after two innings. CSUN went on to score three more runs in the top of the third and another pair in the fourth to hold a 9-0 lead over the ‘Runners.
In the bottom of the fourth, Nicole Curry’s single through the right side broke up starter Daphne Pofek’s no hitter. CSUB continued the rally, putting a second 'Runner on base thanks to Jo Larios’ walk. Chris Hipa, CSUB’s hottest hitter recently, drove a pair of pinch runners in with a double deep in the right center gap.
In the top of the sixth, Taylor Glover’s double off the right field wall brought home Taylor Nate, giving CSUN a 10-2 lead. The ‘Runners were unable to rally back to keep the game going and fell in six innings due to the run rule.
CSUN’s Katie Hooper and Kliebenstein each had a pair of hits and three RBI to drive the Matador offense. Hipa and Curry had the only two hits of the game as the CSUN pitching staff was extremely effective in Game 1.
Pofek earned the win, pitching 3.2 innings while allowing the two runs on two hits and a walk. Taylor Troost pitched the final two and a third, not allowing a hit or a walk in that span. Lyndsay Klimenko pitched 4.1 innings in relief, giving up six runs, five earned. Hipa took the loss after pitching 1.2 innings and giving up four runs.
CSUB broke through in the bottom of the second inning for its first lead of the day. Selena Gonzalez walked and moved to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Curry. Lario came to the plate and delivered a one-out single to bring Gonzalez home and put the ‘Runners ahead 1-0.
The Matadors threatened to tie the game up in both the third and fourth innings, but both times nice plays by CSUB’s outfielders kept CSUN off the board. In the third, a diving catch by right fielder Nadia Amezcua ended a threat with two runners on. The next inning, Kaylynn Burt made a diving catch on the run to hold the Matadors off again.
After fouling off several pitches, Kliebenstein finally got a hold of a pitch and sent it flying over the left field fence. The second baseman’s second home run of the day was a solo shot and tied the game up at one run apiece in the fifth. The Matadors went on to load the bases with the help of an error. CSUN capitalized on the opportunity and scored six runs in the inning, five of which were unearned.
CSUB responded in the bottom of the fifth with a big scoring opportunity. With ‘Runners on first and second, Megan Marcy singled to left to advance the ‘Runners and a throwing error by CSUN’s left fielder allowed Karah Wiseman to score. CSUB was unable to score any more runs and CSUN continued swinging the bat well, scoring three more runs in the top of the sixth to take a 9-2 lead.
Amezcua tried to get the ‘Runner rally going in the bottom of seventh with a bloop single down the right field line, but her teammates were unable to bring her around. CSUB fell 9-2 in the second game as CSUN starter Troost earned her eighth win of the season after pitching four innings and giving up only one run. Junior Summer Evans pitched a complete game for the ‘Runners but took the loss while six of her nine runs allowed were unearned.
Larios’ RBI single in the second inning was CSUB’s only RBI of the game while four other ‘Runners added a hit in Game 2. Gonzalez and Amezcua each recorded a hit and a walk for CSUB.
The Roadrunners (5-20) open WAC play next week with a three-game series against UMKC at home. Come out to the Roadrunner Softball Complex, Mar. 31-Apr. 1, as CSUB takes on the ‘Roos. Friday’s series opener will be a single game while Saturday will feature a doubleheader here in Bakersfield.