BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
Whether it be a lopsided affair or a nip-and-tuck battle to the end, the Cal State Bakersfield baseball team demonstrated it can win either way Saturday.
The Roadrunners swept a doubleheader from Northern Colorado at Hardt Field, taking the first game with ease, 9-0, before having to come from behind in dramatic fashion to win the second game, 4-3.
Trailing Game 2, 3-2, with one out in the ninth, Cael Brockmeyer hit a two-run, bases-loaded single to give CSUB its first walk-off victory of the season.
Brockmeyer's late-game heroics came after Scott Brattvet hurled a four-hit shutout for the 'Runners in Game 1.
"Good teams win all kinds of games," CSUB coach Bill Kernen said. “They win blowout games. They win walk-off games. They win one-run games…It’s a different assignment every day, every game because every game is so different.”
CSUB (12-6) has outscored the Bears (4-9) 25-3 in taking the first three games of the four-game series, which concludes today.
Mylz Jones smacked five hits, scored two runs, and drove in a run for the ‘Runners during Saturday’s twin-bill. Brockmeyer, Tyler Shryock, Oscar Sanay, and Jordie Hein had three hits each for CSUB.
Overall the ‘Runners outhit Northern Colorado 24-10.
CSUB dominated the opening game as Brattvet (4-0) worked his way out some early trouble before retiring 22 of the final 25 batters he faced.
The senior right-hander allowed just seven base runners while recording seven strikeouts.
“I started off a little shaky but I snapped out of it and got in the groove after that,” Brattvet said. “Just started pounding the strike zone. Made them swing the bat and good things happened.”
CSUB had two or more hits in each of the first six innings. After building a 3-0 lead, the ‘Runners broke the game open with three runs in the fifth.
Hein delivered the biggest blow of the inning with a two-run triple.
Eight of CSUB’s nine runs in the first game came with two outs.
Brattvet’s whitewashing of the Bears completed the ‘Runners first-ever back-to-back shutouts of the same opponent.
Jeff McKenzie blanked Northern Colorado 12-0 on Friday night.
“Pitching has been the most important thing for this particular series Kernen said. “We really put the lights out from the mound.”
Northern Colorado, which will be joining the Western Athletic Conference in baseball next year as an affiliate member, used some clutch hitting of its own to finally get going in the second game.
Down 1-0 in the fourth inning, the Bears scored their first run of the series, ending a 22-inning drought, on Joe Love’s two-out RBI single off CSUB starting pitcher James Barragan.
The 'Runners regained the lead in the bottom of the frame, 2-1, on Frank Martinez’s run scoring single.
But that advantage didn’t last long as Northern Colorado got to Barragan for a pair of runs in the fifth.
Only one of the three runs charged to Barragan, a Stockdale High product making the first start of his college career, was earned.
The hard-throwing right-hander was lifted after five innings of work having allowed four hits and three walks.
CSUB, which left a total of 18 runners on base during the doubleheader, hit into three double plays in the second game.
Trying to avoid another twin-killing helped spur the ‘Runners final push toward victory in game two.
After Hein lead off the ninth by reaching on an error and then Dylan Christensen followed with a single, Kevin Younger’s sacrifice bunt attempt turned into an infield hit when Northern Colorado pitcher Kevin Willman couldn’t get to the ball quickly enough to get it to first base ahead of Younger.
Two batters later Brockmeyer, who had been intentionally walked two times earlier in the game, went the other way with a 0-1 pitch up in the strike zone and lined it into right field, bringing home both the tying and winning runs.
Brockmeyer raised his right arm in the air and pumped his fist as he rounded first base.
“That’s the thing about this team, we’re going to battle to the end,” Brockmeyer said. “This is a great example today of a good overall team win.”