Preps

Friday, May 09 2014 10:44 PM

Aikenhead, offense power CSUB to win over N.M. State

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    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Mylz Jones of CSU Bakersfield takes a swing during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. New Mexico State catcher is Kevin Carswell. The Roadrunners opened an early 7-0 lead.

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  2. 2 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Allen Gwynn of CSU Bakersfield gets caught in a rundown during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. New Mexico State's Jory Goldstrom tags him out. Gwynn stayed in the rundown long enough to allow teammate David Metzgar, who singled, to reach second base.

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  3. 3 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield pitcher Taylor Aikenhead works during the third inning of Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. A red-hot offense spotted the pitcher to a 7-0 lead against New Mexico State.

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  4. 4 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield's Oscar Sanay (2) scores an easy run on a wild pitch by Christopher Bradley (11) during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field.

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  5. 5 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Chance Gusbeth takes a swing for the Roadrunners during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. New Mexico State catcher is Kevin Carswell.

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  6. 6 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield's Max Carter (8) and Chance Gusbeth greet each other after they scored on a hit in the first inning against New Mexico State during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field.

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  7. 7 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield's Chance Gusbeth arrives at second base with a double during the first inning of Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. New Mexico State player is first baseman Kristoffer Koerper. The Roadrunner bats were hot early and opened up a 7-0 lead in the first three innings.

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  8. 8 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield head baseball coach Bill Kernen manages from his usual spot during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. This is Kernan's last regular season home stand after six years as the team's first baseball coach.

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  9. 9 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield's Garrett Pierce was called safe on this steal of second base during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field, getting under the tag of New Mexico State's Jory Goldstrom.

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  10. 10 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield's Mylz Jones is tagged out trying to score on an infield grounder by New Mexico State catcher Kevin Carswell during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. Jones had just delivered a two-run triple for the Roadrunners.

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  11. 11 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield catcher Ross Hough singles to right field during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field against New Mexico State.

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  12. 12 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Allen Gwynn of CSU Bakersfield gets caught in a rundownduring Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. New Mexico State's Jory Goldstrom is about to tag him out. Gwynn stayed in the rundown long enough to allow teammate David Metzgar, who singled, to reach second base.

    click to expand click to collapse
  13. 13 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Allen Gwynn of CSU Bakersfield gets caught in a rundown during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. New Mexico State's Jory Goldstrom is about to tag him out. Gwynn stayed in the rundown long enough to allow teammate David Metzgar, who singled, to reach second base.

    click to expand click to collapse
  14. 14 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Allen Gwynn delivers a base hit for CSU Bakersfield during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. New Mexico State catcher is Kevin Carswell. The Roadrunners opened up a 7-0 lead early in the game.

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  15. 15 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    CSU Bakersfield pitcher Taylor Aikenhead works during the first inning of Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field. A red-hot offense spotted the pitcher to a 7-0 lead against New Mexico State.

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  16. 16 of 16

    By John Harte / Special to The Californian

    Roadrunner first baseman Soloman Williams retires New Mexico State's Kevin Carswell and steps out of the way during Friday night's weekend opening game at Hart Field.

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BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

The biggest question mark Friday night was how Cal State Bakersfield would play the day after the players learned their coach was retiring at the end of the season.

"You don't know what's going to happen in that situation," said CSUB coach Bill Kernen after the Roadrunners routed New Mexico State 13-1.

The game was shortened to seven innings because of the Western Athletic Conference's 10-run rule.

The win improved CSUB to 22-27 overall. But more important, Bakersfield is 13-9 in the Western Athletic Conference with five league games left. CSUB has won five of its last six WAC games."

"I'm not sure what we have to do," Kernen said of the team's postseason status. "I'm assuming we'll have to win three or four games. ...

"But we're not having the low bar of just getting in. We want to be the '2' seed."

Which would give the Roadrunners a first-round bye in the six-team WAC Tournament.

CSUB senior left-hander Taylor Aikenhead took a 1-hit shutout into the seventh inning and had pitched to only two batters over the minimum.

The shutout ended when the Aggies had a leadoff single by Michael Paulson, a double by Derek Umphres and Kristoffer Koerper's sacrifice fly.

"I wanted the shutout, but the important thing was not walking anyone," said Aikenhead, who improved to 7-6. "I just threw strikes that inning and they hit some balls hard."

Aikenhead hit the first batter he faced, then threw a wild pitch. He quickly settled down and retired 15 straight batters after that until Kent Blackstone blooped a single to right to lead off the sixth to end Aikenhead's no-hit bid.

"That's the worst way to lose it," Aikenhead said. "If he hits it hard, you can't feel too bad. But it was off the end of the bat."

This was CSUB's first game since Kernen's announcement Thursday he'll retire at the end of the season.

"That gave us a little motivation," Aikenhead said. "We want to make sure he goes out on top."

Kernen called it CSUB's best game of the season.

"It says a lot about them that they were able to play that well under those circumstances," Kernen said.

Bakersfield collected 16 hits off six Aggie pitchers.

Oscar Sanay, who has raised his batting average more than 40 points in the last three weeks, and Allen Gwynn had three hits each. Four other players had two hits each.

Defensively, second baseman David Metzgar may have made the play of the year.

Kyle Kilgore hit a ground ball between first baseman Soloman Williams and second baseman David Metzgar.

Metzgar made a sliding stop after Williams momentarily obscured the ball.

Aikenhead was slow to cover first but barely got there in time on a bang-bang play.

"That play by Metzgar was one of the best plays I've ever seen," Aikenhead said.

On his slow reaction to cover first, Aikenhead said: "That's because I was dumb. I froze and then I guess I'd better get over there."

CSUB junior center fielder Jordie Hein missed his third straight game after suffering a fractured left pinky on a slide at the plate vs. Northern Colorado on May 6.

Kernen said he hopes Hein can return by next weekend's series at Seattle to close the WAC regular season.

CSUB closes out its home schedule -- and Kernen's final two home games -- tonight at 6 and Sunday at 1 vs. New Mexico State.

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