BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Let’s just put it this way: Cal State University Bakersfield, in only its third year of baseball and in its first full year as a Division I member, is quickly becoming a growing pain in college baseball. Friday the Roadrunners received another excellent pitching performance and enough offense to pin a 7-3 victory on Ohio State and in the process improve to 18-5 on the season.
The Buckeyes have now lost two consecutive to CSU Bakersfield and six in a row overall to fall to 6-10 with one game left on this spring trip out west: 4 p.m. EDT tomorrow against a CSU Bakersfield team that now owns wins over defending national champion South Carolina, Arizona State, Washington State and two over the Buckeyes.
High leg kicking southpaw Jonathan Montoya was lights out on the mound for the Roadrunners, who played just their second home game ever under the lights at Hardt Field. Montoya tossed a 135-pitch complete game, scattering four hits, striking out nine and walking just two to improve to 4-1 on the season.
“We were exposed by good pitching again,” Ohio State coach Greg Beals said. “Montoya pitched a great game but we did help him along by a lack of a solid approach at the plate.”
Josh Dezse had two of Ohio State’s four hits, including a single and a run scored in the seventh and an RBI double in the ninth. David Corna led off the sixth with a single – the first hit of the game off Montoya – and later scored on a fielder’s choice for Ohio State’s other run.
The Roadrunners scored four runs in the third inning off four hits, and were helped along by two Buckeye errors, but that was their only big inning of the game, in part because of the fine pitching performance from freshman starter John Kuchno.
Making just his third collegiate start, Kuchno pitched a career-high six innings, scattered eight hits and got better as the game went along. He gave up four earned runs, but only walked two. Brian Bobinski closed the game out with 2.0 innings of two-hit, one-run work.
“I felt really good about the performance John Kuchno gave us,” Beals said. “Our defense let him down a bit and gave him extended innings. But I saw him grow mentally out there as the game wore on.”
A crowd of 648 – the second largest of the season after last night’s season-high 772 – with many of them in lawn chairs or standing along the first and third base side watched the game Friday. CSU Bakersfield doesn’t have grand stand seating yet. But their program is still in its infancy, and it has to go through some growing pains, too.
Some Random Thoughts From Under the Lights at Hardt Field: