SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.—A six-run Cal Poly inning allowed the Mustangs to defeat CSU Bakersfield 9-7 in the first road baseball game of the season for the Roadrunners Tuesday night.
Cal Poly (3-9) starter Trent Shelton retired the first nine CSUB batters he faced before giving up an infield single to Mark Pena to lead off the top of the fourth. Ryan Kono attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt to get Kono to second. Kono reached successfully as Pena reached safely to second. Shelton attempted to pick Pena off at second, but his throw went into centerfield, allowing Pena to get to third.
With one out, Max Carter’s single scored Pena before Ryan Grotjohn tripled to right field to plate Kono and Carter. Michael Clark relieved Shelton. Tyler Kaim reached on a Cal Poly error as he picked up an RBI to score Grotjohn. Cole Valletta singled to center, which allowed Kaim to make it to third. Jake Ortega reached first on a fielder’s choice to shortstop, scoring Kaim. Valletta advanced to second on the third Mustangs’ error of the inning. Brandon Heinrich singled to right to load the bases. Pena struck out for the second out. Kono ended the inning by grounding out to Clark.
CSUB starter Garrett Nimmo retired eight in a row before Alex McKenna doubled to right with one out in the bottom of the fourth for the first Cal Poly hit of the game. Kyle Marinconz drove in McKenna with a single to get the Mustangs on the board for the first time 12.1 innings dating back to last Saturday against San Diego State. Nick Meyer’s grounder to Heinrich at third resulted in a 5-4 fielder’s choice that retired Marinconz with two outs. Meyer advanced to second on a Nimmo wild pitch. Kevin Morgan grounded out to first for the third out.
Scott Orgin reached on a CSUB error to open the Mustangs’ fifth. He advanced to second on Nimmo’s second wild pitch of the game. Michael Sanderson singled in Orgin for a 5-2 score. Sanderson moved to second when Brett Binning successfully put down a sacrifice bunt. Bradlee Beesley grounded out to third, but did not move up 90-feet. Josh George singled in Sanderson to cut the lead to two. Isaiah Moten relieved Nimmo with a 1-0 count on McKenna. McKenna walked to bring up Marinconz as the go-ahead run. Up 0-1, a Moten wild pitch advanced both runners a base. Marinconz popped out to Metzgar at second to complete the frame.
After giving up a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth, Moten got a double play to work out of the inning. Pena walked to begin the CSUB seventh. He moved to second on a Kono sacrifice bunt and went to third on a Metzgar’s fly out to left. Carter flew out to left as the Mustangs turned back the ‘Runners.
Kenny Johnson relieved Moten to begin the seventh. He hit Sanderson on a 0-1 count. Binning singled through the left side to bring the go-ahead run up in Beesley, the Mustangs’ leadoff hitter. Beesley’s bunt single loaded the bases. George tied the game with a two-RBI single. McKenna hit a grounder to Kono at short but Metzgar dropped the exchange to load the bases once again. A Johnson wild pitch allowed Beesley to score for the first Cal Poly lead of the game.
With the infield in, Marinconz walked. Johnson’s ball four went to the backstop to allow George to score. Naithen Dewsnap relieved Johnson. His first batter was Meyer. Marinconz stole second to stay out of the double play. Meyer flew out to center, but the ball was deep enough to score George. With two outs, Dewsnap attempted to pick Marinconz off at second. The throw went into center; the ball went under Pena’s glove for a second error, allowing Marinconz to score for the final run in the inning.
"The game sped up on us tonight," said CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard. "The big inning was caused by both mental and physical mistakes on our end."
Andrew Penner pinch-hit for Ortega to open the ninth and singled up the middle. Christian Deaton pinch ran for Penner as a second pinch-hitter, Luis Martinez, came to bat. Martinez struck out. Pena tripled for his second hit of the night to drive in Deaton. Slater Lee relieved Craig Cohen to become the fifth Mustang pitcher of the night. Sergio Robles pinch-hit for Kono. His grounder to first plated Pena. Metzgar flew out to left to end the game.
"Our guys didn't stop competing," Beard said. "But (the four-run deficit) was too much to overcome in the end."
CSUB outhit the Mustangs 10-9. In addition to Pena, Valletta and Carter also recorded two hits. George had two of the Mustangs’ hits. Tuesday’s game was the home opener for Cal Poly after the first 12 on the road.
The Roadrunners (8-4) are scheduled to travel to Omaha, Neb. to take on Creighton in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. (CT). With bad weather forecasted in the Omaha area this weekend, stay with GoRunners.com for the latest updates.
"We have played a lot of games as of late," Beard said. "We need to get in a good practice tomorrow."