The University of Redlands baseball team hosted the Occidental College Tigers for an important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader on Saturday at The Yard. Behind another outstanding pitching performance, the Bulldogs edged the Tigers by a score of 3-2 in game one before falling in the nightcap, 4-8.
Senior pitcher Michael Collins (Upland, CA) climbed the bump for the first game and immediately forced two ground balls for two outs before giving up a single. Junior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) took care of the Occidental would-be base-stealer by firing a shot to sophomore shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) to lay down the tag for the third out.
Both pitchers seamlessly navigated through the respective lineups until the bottom of the fifth inning. After junior right fielder Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) led off with a double to left field, Singh followed by laying down a successful sacrifice bunt to advance Babbitt. After the second out, junior second basemen Will Hall (Seattle, WA) stepped up to the plate and lined a single up the middle for an RBI and the 1-0 Bulldog lead.
However, the Tigers matched the run in the top of the sixth to reset the game at 1-1.
The score was not knotted for long, as senior center fielder Christian Conci (San Mateo, CA) walked to lead off the top of the sixth. Senior third basemen Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) beat out a slow rolling bunt down the first-base line for two runners on with no outs. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, Singh subsequently smacked a sharp line drive through the left side for two RBI and a 3-1 Redlands advantage.
Collins looked better than ever in the top of the eighth, as he bookended the inning with two strikeouts. He recorded the first two outs in the ninth on punch-outs as well but had trouble securing the third out after giving up two doubles and an RBI. Senior closer John White (Burbank, CA) was called in to finish out the game and did just that by sitting the next Occidental batter and snagging the close 3-2 victory.
Senior John Keane (Clayton, CA) was handed the pearl in the second game of the doubleheader. Redlands was forced to work from behind as the Tigers put up four runs in the top of the first.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second, as they scored two runs, with junior right fielder Kyle Kabeary (Palm Desert, CA) providing an RBI-single, while senior left fielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) blasted a sacrifice fly for an RBI.
The visiting team extended its lead in the fifth inning by scoring one and doubled the effort in the sixth for a 7-2 advantage.
With time running out, the Bulldogs knew they needed to act fast. In the bottom of the eighth with a runner on second and third, Moore sent a sacrifice fly to left field to plate a run. Freshman designated hitter Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA) roped a double to deep left center, scoring Aguilar all the way from second, to put the Bulldogs within three at 4-7.
However, Occidental put up one more in the top of the ninth. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs could not take advantage of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom on the ninth and settled for the 4-8 loss in the final game of the series.
Redlands (22-14, 13-8 SCIAC) looks forward to hosting the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens for game one of the final regular-season series on Friday, April 28. The Bulldogs will also be celebrating the accomplishments of their seven seniors before the first pitch at 3 p.m.