The University of Redlands baseball team battled it out against Cal Lutheran University in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament final on Sunday in Thousand Oaks. Amidst a gutsy display of effort and skill by both teams, the Bulldogs rallied to tie it up but ultimately fell in a tight a 2-3 decision.
Junior hurler Noah Jones (San Bernardino, CA) was handed the pearl for the important game. Although Cal Lutheran jumped on the board in the second inning, Jones quickly regrouped and sat the next two batters to limit the damage.
The Maroon and Gray attempted the comeback in both the fourth and the sixth innings on two hits but could not quite push the runs across.
The Kingsmen added one run in the top of the sixth on three hits. With two runners on, Jones forced the ground ball and the impressive infield trio of junior second basemen Will Hall (Seattle, WA), sophomore shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA), and freshman first basemen Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA) rolled up the hit to execute the perfect double play to put Redlands back on offense.
Renteria kept the momentum going as he singled to left field in the top of the seventh. Junior right fielder Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) followed suit with a single of his own. While facing two outs, senior left fielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) stayed cool under pressure and went the opposite way for a base hit to plate Renteria. Senior center fielder Christian Conci (San Mateo, CA) stepped up with a single to left for another RBI and the equalizer.
In the bottom of that inning, Kabeary and Samson made huge defensive plays in the outfield to keep the score knotted at 2-2 heading into the eighth.
After two Bulldogs got on by way of a walk in the top of the eighth, the Kingsmen made a well-timed pitching change to secure the last two outs.
Junior pitcher Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) was called in to pitch the eighth. After giving up a run, Minjarez fired himself up to strike out the final two batters.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs could not capitalize on a base runner in the top of the ninth and ultimately took home the heartbreaking, 2-3 loss.
After finishing tied-for-second in the conference and advancing to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the third-consecutive season, Redlands (27-16, 16-8 SCIAC) now holds out hope for a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.