PHOENIX, Ariz. – CSU Bakersfield’s softball team dropped a pair of games on the road against Grand Canyon Friday night. Bakersfield’s comeback in the first game of the day came up just one-run short while the Lopes struck out 18 Roadrunners between the two contests to earn the pair of victories.
The Lopes took the first lead of the game in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out single that landed directly on the left field line. The base hit by Camree Wartman scored Laynee Gomez to put the Lopes ahead 1-0, but Megan Stevens was gunned down at home on a relay from left fielder Kaylynn Burt to third baseman Chris Hipa to catcher Jo Larios.
GCU tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second to extend its lead to 3-0. In the bottom of the third, another pair of runs came around to score for the Lopes as GCU held a 5-0 advantage after three complete innings. Over the next three innings, CSUB starter Lyndsay Klimenko held the Lopes quiet and gave her team a chance to come from behind.
Down to their final three outs, the ‘Runners began to rally as both Jocelyn Betancourt and Megan Marcy were hit by pitches to get the inning started. A wild pitch moved the pair up 60 feet and Maddi Clark’s pinch-hit single gave CSUB its first run of the game. Burt then doubled to drive Marcy home and make the score 5-2.
After GCU starter Taylor Nowlin retired two ‘Runners on grounders, Larios singled to drive in another pair of runs. Hipa was hit by a pitch to put the go-ahead run on base, but Nowling got Nicole Curry to fly out to end the game and preserve a narrow, 5-4 victory for the Lopes.
Nowlin (16-7) earned the win with a complete game as the senior lefty struck out nine ‘Runners. Klimenko (1-10) took the loss in her sixth complete game of the season. The right-handed senior gave up nine hits to the Lopes, but none after the third inning.
Larios, a senior catcher, went 2-for-4 in the game for the ‘Runners while driving in two RBI. Marcy, Clark, and Burt had the other three of CSUB’s five hits while the latter two each had an RBI.
After three quiet innings, CSUB took its first lead of the day in the top of the fourth. Curry got the inning off to a start with a single and freshman Cydney Curran joined her on the bases with a walk. Burt singled to left and the ball was mishandled by the fielder, allowing both baserunners to come around to score. With ‘Runners on the corners, Julea Cavazos stole second and an errant throw allowed Burt to come home as CSUB took a 3-0 lead.
GCU responded for four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on four hits. Kendsey Hill’s two-RBI double capped the scoring in the frame, but the Lopes scored again in the fifth. GCU added three more runs on a pair of hits to take a 7-3 lead.
The ‘Runners put one on in both the sixth and seventh innings, but a rally was not in the cards for CSUB. GCU held on for the 7-3 victory and clinched the series win. Reliever Brianna Aguilar-Beaucage earned the win for the Lopes, pitching the final 3.1 scoreless innings. CSUB’s Summer Evans (5-11) took the loss in her 10th complete game of the season.
Larios added another pair of hits in the game while Burt went 1-for-2 with an RBI. Burt, a junior outfielder, had a hit and an RBI in each contest on Friday while Larios went 4-for-8 with two RBI. Curran was 1-for-1 while walking twice in the second game of the day.
The Roadrunners (6-27, 1-7 WAC) and Lopes (30-14, 5-3 WAC) will return to GCU Field on Saturday for one final game. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PT) in Phoenix. The game will be streamed live on the WAC Digital Network.