BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Roadrunner softball team brought their big bats to the yard as a pair of home runs helped CSU Bakersfield take the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader over New Mexico State, 7-4. The Aggies answered back with multiple home runs of their own in Game 2 as NMSU split the day with CSUB on a 13-3 victory in Game 2, claiming the Western Athletic Conference series 2-1.
“Right now we are seeing the ball really well and hitting really well,” said Crissy Buck-Ziegler, Head Coach of the ‘Runners. “Pitching and defense are coming along quite well. We had a rough outing in the second game of the afternoon, but I thought Summer did very well in the first game.”
The ‘Runners took their first lead of the series in the bottom of the third inning. Freshman Cydney Curran singled to lead off, was moved to second on Kaylynn Burt’s sacrifice bunt, and eventually scored on Selena Gonzalez’s RBI groundout. Later in the inning, Hipa singled up the middle to bring Gonzalez home as CSUB went ahead 2-0.
The Aggies loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the fifth. Nikki Butler came to the plate and was hit by a pitch for the third time in the game to drive in NMSU’s first run. Fahren Glackin came up next and singled to center, bringing in a pair of runs and giving the Aggies a 3-2 lead.
The ‘Runners were not rattled by the inning and went on to score four of their own in the bottom half of the fifth. Gonzalez launched a double to the centerfield wall and scored Burt all the way from first. After Gonzalez scored on a passed ball and Jo Larios reached on a single, Chris Hipa launched a no-doubt-about-it home run to left field. The two-RBI blast was Hipa’s fifth of the year and put CSUB up 6-3.
Both teams scored a run in the sixth including freshman Karah Wiseman’s first home run of her young career. The ‘Runners were ahead 7-4 going into the top of the seventh and junior Summer Evans came out and finished the Aggies off in order. The right hander earned her seventh victory of the season while allowing four runs on six hits and no walks to NMSU.
Hipa was 3-for-3 in the contest with three RBI while Gonzalez went 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
A pair of errors in the top of the first inning got the ‘Runners off to a rocky start. NMSU added three hits after the pair of mistakes and capitalized to take a 3-0 lead early on. The Aggies loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the second. Kelsey Horton hit a grand slam to left center to put NMSU ahead by seven runs.
After Nicole Curry hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second, NMSU scored another run in the top of the third to take an 8-1 lead. In the bottom half of the third, Curran hit a one-out single and was moved to second when Burt was hit by a pitch. NMSU’s starter, Samaria Diaz, got the next two ‘Runners out to end the threat.
Horton hit her second home run of the game in the top of the fourth, a solo shot that put the Aggies ahead 9-1. NMSU went on to add three more runs in the frame to take a 12-1 advantage. One more run in the top of the fifth put the Aggies ahead by 12 runs.
The ‘Runners went down swinging as Wiseman and Curran led off the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back singles. With two outs, Larios doubled to the right center gap, driving in a pair of runs and making the score 13-3. The ‘Runner rally ended there as NMSU held on for the run-rule victory in Bakersfield.
Senior Lyndsay Klimenko took the loss in Game 2 after pitching two innings while giving up seven runs, five of which were earned. Hipa pitched 1.1 innings in relief while Evans closed out the final 1.2 innings for CSUB.
Larios was 1-for-3 in the game with her pair of RBI while Curran was 2-for-2 with a run scored. Hipa went 2-for-3 in Game 2 and was 5-for-6 on the day. Curry had the other RBI for CSUB with her sacrifice fly.
Coach Buck-Ziegler commented on how her team is shaping up in the final weeks of the regular season: “We keep talking about having grit and having fight. Especially for the seniors, we are reminding them that they are playing for somebody that has been in the program before them, the Kelsie Monroes, the Sydney Raebers. We’re playing for those guys and we will let the chips fall where they may at the end of the year.”
The ‘Runners (9-30, 2-10 WAC) will hit the road one final time for the regular season finale next week. CSUB will travel to face Seattle U, Apr. 28-29, for a three-game WAC series in Washington.