Seattle University held the early lead, but Bakersfield came back in the late innings to defeat the Redhawks, 6-5, Wednesday afternoon in the first game of the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Tournament at Cubs Park.
Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) hit the first pitch of the tournament into right field for a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.). Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) laced a double into left-center field, scoring Fields to put the Redhawks on top.
In the top of the fourth inning, Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) led off with an infield single and advanced to third on a single by Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.). Colin Peterson (Bellingham, Wash.) drove in Hendrickson with a sacrifice fly to right field, increasing the Redhawk lead to two runs.
Bakersfield (25-31) broke through in the bottom of the fourth when David Metzgar and Mylz Jones led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Metzgar scored on a sacrifice fly to right-center field by Soloman Williams, but Jones was stranded at third base as Seattle U remained ahead, 2-1.
Olson led off the top of the fifth inning with a walk, McCann followed with a single to left field, and Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. All three runners advanced on a wild pitch by Roadrunner pitcher Austin Davis, including Olson scoring, and McCann would score on a sacrifice fly to right-center field by Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.), increasing the Seattle U lead to 4-1.
The Roadrunners loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth on singles by Oscar Sanay, Metzgar, and Jones. Williams drove in Sanay with a sacrifice fly to left field, but Metzgar was thrown out attempting to advance to third base by Peterson. Jones came around to score on a single by Chance Gusbeth, closing the Seattle U lead to one at 4-3.
McGuire led off the eighth inning with a single, and pinch runner Nelson Taylor (Seattle, Wash.) would reach third base on a sacrifice bunt by Peterson and a single by Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C.). After being called back to the plate for failure to avoid a pitch he was hit by, Fields laid down a bunt single, driving in Taylor to increase the Redhawk lead to two runs.
With relief pitcher Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.) on the mound for the Redhawks, the Roadrunners started the bottom of the eighth inning with four straight hits, with Williams driving in Metzgar on a double to right field and Gusbeth following with a single that scored Jones. Anderson made solid defensive plays to get the next two outs and then handed the ball to Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.), who struck out Ross Hough to end the inning with the score tied, 5-5.
After Seattle U failed to score in the top of the ninth, Sanay sent a one-out single to right field and then stole second with two outs. Jones drew a walk, and Williams hit a pitch down the right field line, driving in Sanay with the game-winning run to give the Roadrunners the walkoff victory.
“We didn’t do a good job of preventing them from scoring after we scored, but I just thought they were more aggressive than we were, especially at the plate,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “We took too many pitches early in the count when we had a chance to separate and take the wind out of them, but we let them hang on. We have to rebound tomorrow morning, but we still have plenty of opportunities to play this week.”
Mac Acker (Redmond, Wash.) pitched well as the Redhawk starter, allowing eight hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings of work, striking out two Bakersfield batters without walking anyone. Nick Rogowski replaced Davis in the sixth inning and went the rest of the way, giving up just three hits, one walk, and one run with three strikeouts to earn his second victory of the season.
The top five batters in the Bakersfield lineup combined to hit 13-for-21 and were responsible for all six runs. Fields went 3-for-4 to lead the Redhawks, but Seattle U stranded 11 runners on base as it could not put away the Roadrunners.
Seattle University (26-26) will face the loser of the Utah Valley-New Mexico State contest in an elimination game Thursday, May 22, at 11 a.m. The Redhawks need to win to avoid elimination from the tournament.