Pacific Baseball: Sprague Records Third 30-Win Season With 8-5 Victory Over Roadrunners
Trailing during the first half of the contest, the Pacific baseball team kept chipping away at Cal State Bakersfield and was able to come up with seven runs through the sixth, seventh and eight innings to claim an 8-5 non-conference victory. Head Coach Ed Sprague has now recorded his third 30-win season after tallying 30 in both 2005 and 2006.
With the win, Pacific improved to 30-17 while Cal State Bakersfield fell to 22-25.
Knotted up 5-5 after trailing through the first five innings, the Tigers prevailed in the top of the seventh inning with two runs to take what would prove to be the final lead of the game. Junior J.B. Brown (Alvin, Texas) led off the inning when he drove a 2-2 pitch down the right field line for a double. One out later Juan Padilla came in to relieve John Montoya on the hill for the Roadrunners. With the go-ahead run standing in scoring position, junior Matthew Carvutto (Poway, Calif.) had the patience to draw a four-pitch walk and put runners at first and second. Then senior Ben Gorang (Turlock, Calif.) continued the inning's rally when he singled to shortstop and loaded the bases. After the second out had been recorded, Pacific rallied with its back to the wall in hopes of scoring the baserunners. Sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) singled through the right side of the diamond and on the play, both Brown and Carvutto were rounding and came home to score. Christopher's two RBI single gave Pacific the 7-5 lead in the seventh inning.
After senior RHP Hunter Carnevale (Roseville, Calif.) retired the side, Pacific went back to work at the plate one inning later. With one out in the frame, senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.) drilled the first pitch he saw over the center field wall and gave Pacific an 8-5 lead at the top of the eighth inning. The hit was Walker's first of the game and gave him a team-leading 10 blasts on the year.
Earlier in the contest, Cal State Bakersfield sprinted out to a quick lead for the second time in the series. The Roadrunners plated two in the bottom of the first, and despite Pacific cutting the lead in half in the second, Cal State Bakersfield responded back with three more runs in the third to take a 5-1 lead.
The score remained tipped in favor of Cal State Bakersfield through several innings as Pacific went to the bullpen for Carnevale to relieve starter LHP David Rowse (Pleasanton, Calif.). After three consecutive scoreless innings the Tigers were able to tie the contest with a huge four-run sixth inning.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Pacific was determined to set out to do some damage. At the plate Carvutto drew his first of two walks in the afternoon, this time after five pitches. Gorang followed up with a single after the pair proved to be a potent 1-2 punch in Pacific's line-up the day before. Gorang laced a full-count pitch through the right side of the plate, but when center fielder Joey Mills bobbled the ball in the outfield, both Gorang and Carvutto were able to advance another bag. The table was set after the error with runners at second and third and Pacific went to the dugout in favor of junior Nick Longmire (San Diego, Calif.) to pinch hit. Longmire successfully performed when called upon and drove in both runners with a two RBI single into left field. Pacific then trailed 5-3.
Since Longmire pinch hit in the catcher's spot, sophomore Aaron Hassel (Tarzana, Calif.) came in for Longmire to pinch run at first base. At that point Montoya was called upon to relieve starting pitcher Brandon Van Dam. Despite the pitching change, Christopher came up big in as many times this weekend for the Tigers when he launched a double into right center that allowed Hassel to stand at third base. One out later, when junior Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) stood at the plate, a wild pitch brought Hassel home from third to put Pacific within one, trailing 5-4. More attentive baserunning helped the Tigers tie the game after Martin drew a full-count walk. On the final pitch, the ball got away from catcher Jeremy Rodriguez and Christopher scored the tying run on a passed ball, to knot the score at 5-5.
Carnevale picked up his fifth win on the mound for the Tigers and improved to 5-3 on the season after facing the minimum for three of his six innings. Carnevale only allowed three hits in scoreless relief. Montoya suffered the loss for the Roadrunners and fell to 4-5 on the season.
Offensively Brown led the way at the plate for the Tigers. He finished with a game-high three hits in his 3-for-5 showing that included two runs scored and one RBI. Brown now brings his 2010 hit total to 78 and leads the Tigers. His 78 hits put him behind senior Joe Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) for No. 7 in the single-season all time hits list at Pacific. Last season, Brown recorded 87 hits and is only nine away from tying that mark with eight games remaining this season.
Pacific returns to action for the rubber match which is slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 16.