The Dons played a three-game series against the California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners playing in Bakersfield. The team entered the game having picked up their first win of the season, a raucous 6-0 victory at home, on Feb. 18 against the University of California, Davis Aggies. Down in Bakersfield, the Dons started strong, winning their first game 10-6, but used up all their offense, managing only two runs across the final two games of the series and losing the series 2-1.
In the first game, the Dons fell behind early, giving up five runs over the first two innings of work. Things settled down, however, as senior pitcher Riley Ornido kept the Roadrunners scoreless through his final two innings of work. Needing to keep his team in the mix, junior Alex Pham answered the call to the bullpen and pitched 4 2/3 innings of dazzling baseball, allowing just two hits while picking up six strikeouts and the W. In the batter’s box, it was junior Nick Yovetich leading the way with three hits and three RBIs, coming on a bases-loaded triple in the seventh inning. The Dons completed the comeback and took the first game 10-6. Following the game, head coach Nino Girratano commented on the resilience of his players, saying, “That’s a momentum builder. We hadn’t pitched well early in the games and hadn’t come back. We had some good at-bats all the way through, Riki Urata had great at-bats and didn’t have much to show for it. [Jack] Winkler had great at-bats. Harris Williams came off the bench and got a base hit, [Jacob] Westerman came off the bench and got a hit… a lot of guys came in and did a job.”
Game two followed game one’s tenor of early runs-allowed but lacked the offense to back it up. Senior Grant Young was on the rubber for this one, giving up seven earned runs in more than two innings of work; junior Nick Roth came in on mop-up duty, going four scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Offensively, the Dons were stifled until the fourth inning, when Jacob Munoz scored a runner on a groundout to first. A three-run seventh inning cut the lead in half before the stretch, but the Dons lost the second game 8-4. Coach Giarratano spoke after the game about the challenge his team faced with another early hole, saying, “Tough first three innings today. We were down 7-0, battled back to 7-4 with no outs in the eighth and could not score partly due to a crucial baserunning mistake.”
In the rubber match, the Dons lost 2-0 to the Roadrunners. While putting up decent collective numbers (four hits, 10 strikeouts over eight innings of work), the story for Dons pitching was walks, with six free passes handed out to Bakersfield. Despite scattering hits throughout the day, the Dons couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, leaving nine men on base (0-6 with runners in scoring position) despite logging seven hits throughout the day. Yovetich picked up two hits in the loss, netting his second multi-hit game of the series and third of the year.
Looking ahead the Dons travel for a weekend slate against California State Fullerton (Feb. 28 – March 1) before returning to the Hilltop to face off against Mount St. Mary’s in a three-game series on March 3.