BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A rally in the final two innings of Friday’s Western Athletic Conference opener came up short for CSU Bakersfield’s softball team as visiting UMKC took the first game of the series. The Roadrunners scored three runs in the sixth and had the winning run at the plate in the seventh, but the ‘Roos held on for a 5-3 victory at the Roadrunner Softball Complex.
“We need to stick to our game plan,” said Crissy Buck-Ziegler, Head Coach of the ‘Runners. “We’re too anxious and we’re not working our process. We have got do that a little better tomorrow. I thought Summer did a pretty good job in the circle, but we could do better.”
In the top of the second inning, shortstop Morgan Byrn gave the ‘Roos an early 2-0 lead with a two-run home run over the left field fence. The sophomore’s blast was her team-leading fifth of the season and plated first baseman Bri Sims.
In the top of the fifth, UMKC’s Sydney Garcia hit a double off of the right field wall to drive in pitcher Kendra Leach and put the ‘Roos ahead 3-0. An inning later, a fielding blunder by the ‘Runners helped UMKC tack on two more runs. A fly ball to right field looked to score a third run, but Nadia Amezcua fired home to gun down a runner and get CSUB out of the inning down only 5-0.
The ‘Runners finally broke through with a big inning in the bottom of the sixth, plating three runs. With Amezcua and Selena Gonzalez on base, junior outfielder Julea Cavazos tripled to the left center gap, driving in both of her teammates. First baseman Nicole Curry came up to bat next and brought home Cavazos with her second single of the day.
Down to their final three outs and trailing 5-3, the ‘Runners began a rally with Chris Hipa and Josie Flores drawing back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. With ‘Runners on the corners, two outs, and the tying run at the plate, CSUB grounded out to end the game and the comeback.
UMKC’s Leach took the victory, pitching six and a third innings while allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. CSUB’s starter, Summer Evans, fell to 5-8 on the season after pitching her seventh complete game of the year. The junior transfer from Palomar College gave up five hits and five walks to the 'Roos.
The ‘Runners outhit UMKC 7-5 in the game, but were unable to score on their opportunities. Cavazos went 1-for-3 in the game with two RBI while Curry was 2-for-3 with one RBI. Hipa went 1-for-1 at the plate while drawing two walks against the ‘Roos pitchers.
CSU Bakersfield (5-21, 0-1 WAC) will close out the WAC-opening series against UMKC (8-25, 1-0 WAC) on Saturday with a doubleheader. First pitch of the day is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Roadrunner Softball Complex. Between games of the doubleheader, the ‘Runners will honor alumni of the 1988-90 CSUB teams that won three straight NCAA Division II National Championships.