BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - With the CSU Bakersfield wrestling team clinging to a 15-12 lead over No. 25 Fresno State and just one match remaining, Bakersfield native Carlos Herrera finished off the Bulldogs with a wild 15-11 decision as the Roadrunners won the Feud on the Field 18-12.
There was a large and rowdy crowd on hand this afternoon on the Main Soccer Field as the two Central Valley rivals competed in the first-ever outdoor dual on the campus of CSU Bakersfield. This is the second victory over a ranked opponent this season for CSUB as the Roadrunners also knocked off No. 22 Stanford on January 22.
"Let me give credit to our assistant coaches," said CSUB Head Coach Manny Rivera. "They did a great job getting the boys ready while I worried about the event. It was great to see their hard work and our boys' hard work pay off. It was a good win for us. Anytime you can beat a good, in-state rival, especially someone as close as Fresno it always feels good."
With a wrapped up knee, the 141-pound Herrera didn't seem to feel the effects as he came out of the gates hot with a quick takedown in the first period. Christopher Deloza rallied, scoring four straight points in the middle of the first three minutes, but Herrera reversed his control and picked up two nearfall points to take a 6-4 lead after the first. In the second, Deloza put up a pair of takedowns and an escape, but Herrera scored a critical takedown as time expired in the period to take an 11-9 lead into the final frame. The Roadrunner dominated the final two minutes and clinched the match and the dual with a takedown with just 11 seconds remaining.
"Honestly, it was all of us," said Herrera. "Everybody went out there and fought. It came down to me and I had to fight too. It was a great atmosphere and I knew I had to take care of business. I knew if I stuck to my offense and my shots that I could get the win."
Sean Nickell put the Roadrunners ahead 15-12 in the previous match, with a 3-2 decision over Gary Joint. It was Nickell's second win over Joint this season after he defeated him earlier this year at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Nickell took down Joint with just 16 seconds remaining in the first period to lead 2-0 and used some late-period magic again in the second as he escaped Joint's control with just 15 seconds left to lead 3-0.
It was a breakthrough performance for a pair of CSUB wrestlers today. At 125-pounds, CSUB freshman Eddie Flores won his first varsity match, which turned out to be the first of three consecutive victories for the Roadrunners. Trailing 5-2 entering the third period, Flores took down Robert Garcia IV three times in the final two minutes, including the match winner with just 10 seconds remaining.
"I'm pumped up," said Flores. "I was able to get my first win, but also get a big win over an in-state rival. We brought it to them. Honestly, at the end I was just so happy. All the work that I've been putting in finally paid off and it's been a rough couple of months. I'm just going to keep working and put up some more W's"
After being so close in a number of matches against ranked opponents, Dominic Ducharme finally scored a victory over a ranked wrestler, defeating No. 19 Jackson Hemauer 3-2 in tie breaker scoring. With the match tied at 2-2 at the end of regulation and the 1:00 sudden victory period, Ducharme escaped Hemauer to lead 3-2 in the tie breaker portion. Starting on top to start the next 30 seconds, Ducharme rode out Hemauer to clinch the 3-2 decision.
Trailing 6-0 after the first two matches, Jacob Thalin, Bryan Battisto and Ducharme won three straight matches for CSUB to put them up 9-6 before the intermission.
Thalin's 7-3 decision over Isaiah Hokit at 165 pounds was the largest margin of victory in a match by any Roadrunner on the day. Despite getting the first takedown of the match, Thalin trailed 3-2 as they headed to the second period. He quickly escaped Hokit's control to start the second and went ahead for good with a takedown halfway through the second frame. Thalin rode out Hokit for the entire final period to clinch the win.
In the last home match of his career, redshirt senior Bryan Battisto went out in style with a 9-7 victory over Dominic Kincaid. CSUB would again trail entering the final period, but Battisto reversed Kincaid's control and picked up a huge four-point nearfall to put him up 8-4. Kincaid eventually escaped and took down the CSUB senior, but Battisto escaped with four seconds remaining to seal the decision.
The Roadrunners will be back in action next Saturday when they travel to Arizona State to complete their regular season dual schedule against Pac-12 competition. Match time is set for 1:30 p.m. MST.
149: Khristian Olivas (Fresno) over Russell Rohlfing (CSUB) (Dec 10-3)
157: Jacob Wright (Fresno) over Wyatt Gerl (CSUB) (Dec 5-0)
165: Jacob Thalin (CSUB) over Isaiah Hokit (Fresno) (Dec 7-3)
174: Bryan Battisto (CSUB) over Dominic Kincaid (Fresno) (Dec 9-7)
184: Dominic Ducharme (CSUB) over Jackson Hemauer (Fresno) (TB-1 3-2)
197: Josh Hokit (Fresno) over Matt Penyacsek (CSUB) (Dec 6-2)
285: AJ Nevills (Fresno) over Jarrod Snyder (CSUB) (Dec 4-0)
125: Eddie Flores (CSUB) over Robert Garcia IV (Fresno) (Dec 9-8)
133: Sean Nickell (CSUB) over Gary Joint (Fresno) (Dec 3-2)
141: Carlos Herrera (CSUB) over Christopher Deloza (Fresno) (Dec 15-11)