Bakersfield College score seven runs on way to victory

Taft College sophomore center fielder Andrea Garza drilled a single into left field with one out in the bottom of the first inning of last Thursday’s season opener.

After that, three Bakersfield College pitchers retired the next 22 batters in a row and took advantage of four Cougar errors for a 7-0 non-conference win.

Julie Estep, Annissa Carendar and Jessica Simpson combined for 10 strikeouts, and did not walk a batter.

The Renegades touched Cougar pitcher Allie Carrigan for seven hits, two each by Brittany Messer and Jazmin Irvin.
Carrigan struck out four and did not walk a batter.  Only three of the BC runs were earned.

“We had a lot of first-game jitters,” said head coach Stefanie Walsh.  “We’ve been working really hard the last few weeks.  We didn’t have much of a fall (practice) season because we didn’t have the numbers.  We had a few injuries and that put us back a little bit.”

She hopes her team will get untracked today when the Cougars head to Salinas for a doubleheader with Hartnell College.
Despite a lack of depth, she believes this year’s edition will be stronger than last year’s team that went 15-22-1.

Walsh has six returnees, including Carrigan, who finished 10-18 last season with a 2.44 earned run average.  She also hit .347 with 22 runs batted in. 

She gets back her top hitter in Courtney Nyetrae, who hit .525 with 35 runs batted in – both tops in the conference.  She had three homers, two triples and 22 doubles.

Walsh lost here No. 2 hitter to a torn ACL during fall drills and had surgery in November.

Amber Si’u hit .412 with 26 RBIs.

“That was a big loss for us,” she said.

Third baseman Kelcey Villiamu returns.  She led the team with eight homers and was second in RBIs with 31.

Another returnee is shortstop Joya Cervera, who hit .308 last season.

Walsh will have to wait until basketball season is over to play her other sophomore – outfielder Baylee Day, who hit .345 last year and was a steady defender.

“We are lucky to have sophomore leadership,” the coach said.  “These sophomores are taking over and trying to make a difference.”

Walsh likes her crop of newcomers.

“Our freshmen are really strong,” she said.

They include pitcher/outfielder Kaylea Wigley (Bakersfield), utility Shelbe Pennel (Bakersfield), second baseman Chanel Nielsen (Midvale, Utah), catcher Iisha Cho (Kona, Hawaii), outfielder Christine Taylor (Kaysville, Utah), and infielder Brittany Peterson (Orem, Utah).

Cho has had only a week of practice.  Nyetrae, who played first base last season, has been handling the chores behind the plate.

“Once we get Iisha some time working behind the plate we can move Courtney back to her normal position at first.  She’s done a great job for us.  She’ll be able to give Iisha a break during the season.”

Peterson played first base in the opener, but was a shortstop in high school.  She’s 6-1 and was the middle blocker on the Cougar volleyball team.

“Brittany is very athletic,” Walsh said.  “She has a very good bat.  She is so versatile we’ll probably use her as a utility.  That’s going to be very nice to have.”

Like Day, Taylor won’t be in the lineup until basketball season is over on Feb. 19.

“Christine will do some hitting and base-running.  Her overall athletic ability will be a definite asset.  Her work ethic is outstanding.”