BAKERSFIELD, Cal. – Senior righthander Brandon Gonnella pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief as Towson University (4-2) came from behind to edge CSU Bakersfield (5-3) by a 3-2 margin at Hardt Field on Sunday afternoon.
With the scored tied at 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning, senior shortstop Hunter Bennett and junior third baseman Mike Draper hit back-to-back singles. Closer Seroio Luna came on to pitch for the Roadrunners with one out and two runners on base. After striking out Zach Fisher for the second out, he hit Pat Fitzgerald with a pitch to load the bases.
While pitching to Gonnella, Luna tried to pick Fitzgerald off first base. He made a throwing error and Bennett scored the go-ahead run. Luna retired Gonnella on a ground ball to shortstop, ending the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Gonnella retired the Roadrunners in order to pick up the win.
CSU Bakersfield took a 2-0 lead against freshman lefthander Bruce Zimmermann in the first two innings. In the bottom of the first inning, Oscar Sanay drew a leadoff walk. After he reached second base on a sacrifice bunt, Sanay went to third base on a balk. Chance Gurbeth delivered the go-ahead run when he singled to centerfield. Zimmermann pitched out of the jam when he got Soloman Williams to ground into a double play.
In the second inning, the Tigers rallied when senior Dominic Fratantuono singled with two outs. Brendan Butler followed with a double down the left field line. Fratantuono tried to score the tying run but Nick Rogowski threw him out at home plate.
CSU Bakersfield added another run in the bottom of the second inning. Garrett Pierce reached on an error, leading off the inning. Andrew Lojewski hit into a force play for the first out and replaced Pierce on the basepaths. A single by David Metzger put runners on first and third base. Rogowski laid down a squeeze play bunt and Lojewski scored for a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers came back to tie the score in the fifth inning. Draper drew a leadoff walk and Fisher singled to right. A sacrifice bunt by Fitzgerald moved both runners into scoring position. Gonnella drove in the first run when he grounded out to second base. Moments later, Fisher scored on a passed ball to tie the game.
Gonnella came on to pitch with one out in the sixth inning. He pitched out of a two-runners on base jam. But, in the bottom of the seventh, the Roadrunners loaded the bases with one out. But, Gonnella preserved the tie game by striking out Williams and Garrett Pierce to the end the inning.
The Tigers outhit the Roadrunners by a 7-6 margin as Peter Bowles contributed a pair of singles.
Zimmermann allowed one earned run on four hits in 5.1 innings. He walked two and struck out two. Gonnella shut out CSU Bakersfield on three hits over 3.2 innings. He earned his first victory of the season while walking three and striking out four.
The Tigers, who dropped two of three games in the weekend series, return to action next weekend when they travel to Campbell University for four games with West Point and the Fighting Camels.