The University of Redlands baseball team continued its bout against non-conference competitors with a Saturday doubleheader against No. 8 Centenary College (LA). Under drizzly conditions, the Bulldogs split results in two, two-run games by final scores of 5-7 and 4-2.
Senior ace Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) took the hill for Redlands in game one. Although he pitched out of the stretch in the first, Minjarez recorded the third out via strikeout with no damage done.
Minjarez's offense backed him as Redlands put up one run in the bottom of the first. After a single, senior second baseman Will Hall (Seattle, WA) stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Senior catcher Rainier Aguilar's (San Bernardino, CA) sacrifice fly sent Hall home for the 1-0 advantage.
A pitching duel ensued over the next three frames as Minjarez allowed no hits and struck out two in the efficient innings.
Unfortunately, the Gents put up seven runs on four hits and four Bulldog miscues over the fifth and sixth innings to put Redlands in a sizable, 1-7 hole.
In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) roped a double to right field. Singh took third and ultimately touched home plate on two passed balls to inch the gap closer.
First-year pitcher Matt Crow (Lake Elsinore, CA) took over duties on the mound for Redlands in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of that inning, again with two outs, senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) reached first on a walk and subsequently stole second and third. Junior Bart In den Kleef (Oosterhout, Netherlands) was sent to the plate as a pinch hitter and drove a sharp single to third base for Gardiner to sneak in for the score. Junior first baseman Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) crushed a home run to left field for two RBI to narrow the spread to 5-7.
Crow impressively struck out the side in the top of the eighth, as the third one blew past the batter for a strikeout looking.
Unfortunately, Redlands couldn't string together any more offense in the final two innings for a 5-7, first-game loss.
After a short break, the Bulldogs returned to the field for game two. Senior pitcher Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) was handed the pearl for the nightcap. Although Stead gave up a run on two hits in the first, he recorded an efficient second, third, and fourth frames, while striking out three.
The home team added one run on two hits in the bottom of the fourth. Aguilar and Moore led off with back-to-back singles. Aguilar made it around third and touched home on a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Stead continued to deliver strikes, sitting the next three Gents in order.
Redlands' bats got hot in the fifth to back up Stead's energy. First-year left fielder Dana Sullivan (Boulder, CO) beat out a sharp infield single. Hall reached first on a very similar play that the second baseman ultimately mishandled that allowed Sullivan to get to third and Hall to second. A few pitches later, Sullivan scored on a passed ball that also sent Hall to third. Gardiner was up next and squared up a deep double to center field to plate Hall. After an intentional walk, Moore barreled an RBI-base-hit to left center for Redlands' 4-1 advantage.
Centenary attempted the comeback in the top of the sixth with two runners on and no outs. Redlands' defense of Singh to Hall to Moore executed the successful 6-4-3 double play while Stead took care of the third out himself to exit the inning unscathed. The Gents did manage to add a run on three hits in the top of the seventh.
Stead quickly recorded the first two outs of the eighth inning and trusted his defense to roll up the last. Amidst growing darkness and a constant drizzle, the officials decided to call the game after the top of the eighth with the Bulldogs taking game two, 4-2.
Stead struck out five in the eight-inning, complete game. Hall enjoyed a great day at the plate by going 5-for-9 and scored two runs. Moore also knocked three hits, including a home run and recorded three RBI on the day.
The Bulldogs (13-4) welcome Endicott College (MA) to The Yard for a non-conference game on Monday, March 12, at 3 p.m.