For the second straight night, Seattle University allowed a big inning early, and the Redhawks’ comeback efforts in the late innings fell short as CSU Bakersfield held on for an 11-9 victory Saturday night in Western Athletic Conference baseball action at Hardt Field.
CSU Bakersfield (33-18, 16-7 WAC) picked up right where it left off offensively Friday in the bottom of the first inning, as Oscar Sanay led off with a single, stole second base, advanced to third on a single by Tyler Shryock, and scored on a bunt single by Dylan Christensen. Cael Brockmeyer walked to load the bases, and Mylz Jones followed with a single to right field, scoring Shryock and Christensen.
Brockmeyer came in to score when Chance Gusbeth reached on a fielder’s choice, and Kris Cayton singled to once again put multiple runners on base. After a sacrifice bunt, Jordie Hein drew a two-out walk to load the bases, and Sanay hit a single that drove in Gusbeth and Cayton, with a Redhawk error allowing Hein to score. Sanay’s hit ended the outing for Seattle U starter Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.) after just 2/3 of an inning.
With one out in the top of the second inning, Nick Latta (Tacoma, Wash.) hit a double to left-center field, Steve Kirbach (Kirkland, Wash.) drew a walk, and Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.) singled to load the bases. However, Roadrunner starting pitcher Scott Brattvet induced a popout and a groundout to end the Redhawk threat without any runs scoring.
The Roadrunners resumed their offensive production in the bottom of the second inning, loading the bases with no one out thanks to a single by Christensen, Brockmeyer being hit by a pitch, and an infield single from Jones. Redhawk reliever Ben Ruff (Fife, Wash.) would strike out the next three CSUB batters to leave all three runners stranded.
Ruff kept the Roadrunners off the board during his entire relief outing, striking out eight batters while giving up just four hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season. The eight strikeouts for Ruff tied the single-game high for a Seattle U pitcher this season, previously accomplished on two different occasions by Andrew Olson (Enumclaw, Wash.).
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Jones reached on an infield single, Gusbeth walked, and pinch hitter Allen Gwynn laced a double down the left field line, driving in Jones. Gusbeth would come in to score on a sacrifice fly to center field by Kevin Younger, increasing the CSUB advantage to 9-0 after six innings.
Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) led off the seventh inning with a bunt single, and Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) drew a walk to load the bases, ending the day for Brattvet.
Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.) greeted CSUB reliever Chuck Buchanan with a single that brought home both Fields and Cray. Roberts would come in to score on a double play, and Latta extended the inning with a single. However, Buchanan would halt the Redhawk rally by inducing an inning-ending groundout.
The Roadrunners extended their lead in the bottom of the seventh when Shryock hit a one-out triple to right-center field and scored on a passed ball. Bryndon Ecklund (Elma, Wash.) led off the top of the eighth inning with a double and came around to score on a single by Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.). Fields was hit by a pitch, and Cray hit a single up the middle, driving in Hendrickson.
Fields and Cray advanced into scoring position on a passed ball, and Roberts would drive in Fields on a hard groundout to third base. Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) extended the inning by drawing a walk, and Latta followed with a bloop single to left field that scored Cray. Austen Brand (Tacoma, Wash.) laced a single to left field to bring in Olson, but Ecklund was robbed of an extra-base hit by a leaping catch at the wall by Gusbeth.
CSU Bakersfield added one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning, putting together a two-out rally as Younger singled and came around to score on a double to left field by Hein. In the top of the ninth inning, Hendrickson reached base by being hit by a pitch and eventually came around to score, but three consecutive groundouts to Sanay at second base ended the Redhawk comeback attempt.
“Our starting pitching put us in a hole again tonight, but the difference from last night is that Ben came out of the bullpen and kept the game manageable,” Seattle U head baseball coach Donny Harrel said. “Our offense battled to the end, but the relievers after Ruff put runs on the board that we could not recover from.”
The Redhawks finished the night with 15 hits, led by three-hit performances by Somers and Latta, but Seattle U stranded 12 runners on base, including six in scoring position. Shryock and Jones collected three hits apiece to pace a 16-hit attack by the Roadrunners, who left 10 runners on base during the game.
Seattle University (19-31, 8-14 WAC) concludes the weekend series with CSU Bakersfield Sunday, May 12, at 12 p.m. Dan Giuliani will broadcast the contest on GoSeattleU.com, starting with the pregame show shortly before first pitch. The Redhawks will then return home for the final WAC weekend series, hosting New Mexico State at Bannerwood Park May 16-17 and at Courter Field May 18.