RIVERSIDE, Calif.—A nine-run fifth inning propelled CSU Bakersfield past UC Riverside 15-9 in the opener of a three-game series Friday night.
"This was a great win against a very talented ball club," said CSUB head coach Jeremy Beard.
A two-out Mahlik Jones RBI double plated David Metzgar to give CSUB 1-0 first inning lead. Cade Peters tied the game in the bottom of the first with his second home run of the year. Mark Pena’s two-out RBI double in the top of the second scored Ryan Grotjohn to return the lead to the Roadrunners.
Casey Worden tied the game once again with a one-out double in the bottom of the second. Michael Farris’ two-out RBI single scored Worden to earn the Highlanders their first lead of the night. AJ Sawyer’s infield single with two outs in the bottom of the third increased the advantage to two.
CSUB loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. Trenton Toplikar relieved UC Riverside starter Hazahel Quijada to face Max Carter. Carter worked out a walk to score Andrew Penner. Ryan Grotjohn doubled to right that allowed Jones and Metzgar to score for a 5-4 CSUB lead. Carter advanced to third on the play. Cole Valletta followed with a single that went through the right side, scoring Carter and Grotjohn to raise the lead to three. Ryan Kono singled to right, pushing Valletta to third. An error by Peters, the UCR right fielder, allowed Valletta to score with Kono reaching third on the play.
Jacob Worrell relieved Toplikar with no outs and issued a four-pitch walk to Junior Felix. Pena also walked to bring Penner up for the second time in the inning. The fourth UC Riverside pitcher of the inning, Devin McKesson, would come in to face Penner. Penner singled through the left side to drive in Felix and Kono. Penner advanced to second on a wild pitch before Metzgar singled to left to score Penner for the ninth CSUB run of the inning. Jones struck out prior to Carter grounding into a 4-6-3 double play to wrap up the inning.
The nine runs scoring in the inning is the second most in an inning by a Roadrunner team in school history. CSUB scored 10 against North Dakota in the bottom of the fourth of the May 21, 2016 game in Bakersfield.
Carter, the starting Roadrunner pitcher, helped his own cause in the seventh with a two-RBI single. The Highlanders received RBI’s from Cody Sporrer, Sawyer, and Aaron Cisneros in the bottom of the eighth before Colby Schultz hit a two-run home run to make it 13-9 with two outs. Peters singled against CSUB reliever Andrew Hansen. Isaac Meza relieved Hansen and hit Connor Cannon with his first pitch. With the tying run on deck, Yeager Taylor grounded out to second to end the inning.
Pinch-hitter Jake Ortega added some insurance for CSUB in the ninth when he singled in a pair of runs with two outs. Sawyer walked with one out in the bottom of the ninth before getting to second on Worden’s fourth hit of the game. Meza struck out Cisneros looking for the second out. Farris grounded out to second to end the game.
Carter went the first six innings for the victory. He struck out five without walking a batter. Carter would drive in three runs in the game. Grotjohn recorded a 4-for-6 performance with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Grotjohn added two doubles and a stolen base. Jones also had two hits. Valletta and Jones both went 3-for-5. Valletta drove in two runs. Metzgar would score three runs to go along with two hits.
"Max didn't have the best stuff today, but he competed well," Beard said. "It was encouraging to see Meza come in and make quality pitches tonight. The story of the night was how were able to execute our offense."
The Highlanders (10-7) had one player with four hits (Worden), one player with three hits (Sawyer) and four others with two hits. CSUB (9-4) recorded 18 hits, compared to 16 for UC Riverside.
The series continues Saturday with a 6 p.m. first pitch.