A solid combined pitching effort by lefthanders Mac Acker (Redmond, Wash.) and Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.), along with timely hitting in the middle innings, allowed Seattle University to open the final Western Athletic Conference weekend series of the regular season with a 4-2 victory over CSU Bakersfield Thursday night at Bannerwood Park.
Acker pitched the first six innings, allowing six hits and two runs as well as striking out 10 batters without giving up a walk. The 10 strikeouts are the most by a Seattle U pitcher since Arlo Evasick struck out 10 Saint Mary’s batters May 23, 2010. Anderson came on in relief in the seventh inning and gave up just two hits over the final three innings for his third save of the season.
Seattle U broke through in the fourth inning off Bakersfield starter Taylor Aikenhead, as Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) singled, Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) was hit by a pitch, and Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) singled to load the bases with one out. Sam Finfer (Bellevue, Wash.) drew a walk to force in Cray, and Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.) followed with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Olson.
In the fifth inning, Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) sent a single through the left side of the infield and hustled to third base on a single by Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.). Cray laid down a safety squeeze bunt, and Fields rushed home before the Bakersfield catcher could retrieve the ball and return to the plate, increasing the Redhawk lead to 3-0.
Bakersfield (23-30, 14-11 WAC) cut its deficit to one in the top of the sixth inning thanks to a two-run home run to left field by Mylz Jones. The Roadrunners threatened to tie the game when Soloman Williams singled and stole second base, but, on a single by Chase Gusbeth, Williams was thrown out at home by Fields, keeping the Redhawks on top.
Seattle U would add a run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth as McGuire and Colin Peterson (Bellingham, Wash.) notched back-to-back singles and Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C.) followed with a walk that loaded the bases. With Fields at the plate, Aikenhead started his motion and then stopped, committing a balk that allowed McGuire to score.
“Any game that starts a series will usually feature the best arms in the conference, and Mac did an outstanding job tonight, especially getting 10 punchouts without any walks against a team that is offensive and makes good adjustments along the way,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “Garrett came in and was able to get the breaking ball over (the plate) to get ahead. We played good when we needed to, and it’s a good win to start the series.”
Aikenhead took the loss for the Roadrunners after giving up 10 hits, two walks, and four runs, striking out three batters along the way. Steven Gee pitched the final two innings for the visitors, allowing one hit and two walks while picking up one strikeout. Seattle U had the chance to put more runs on the board, but the Redhawks stranded nine runners on base and hit into three double plays.
Seattle University (24-24, 12-10 WAC) continues the weekend series with Bakersfield Friday, May 16, starting at 6 p.m., followed by the Senior Day game Saturday, May 17, at 12 noon.