The No. 15/20 University of Redlands baseball team traveled to Eagle Rock to finish its three-game series against Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competitor, Occidental College. Nearly every starter in both games muscled at least one hit and, in conjunction with 18 innings of solid pitching, the Bulldogs completed the season sweep of the Tigers with wins of 8-0 and 8-2 on Saturday.
Senior hurler Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) took the bump in game one for the visitors. Both teams earned opportunities early in the game but neither could pull the trigger on plating runs.
Three innings later, junior first baseman Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) gave Redlands the lead on a leadoff home run and eventual game-winner.
The Maroon and Gray added two runs in each the fifth and sixth innings for a 5-0 lead. In the fifth, Redlands added the runs on three hits and a Tiger miscue. Senior right fielder Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) started the sixth with a single to center before junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) laced a double to left for two runners in scoring position and no outs. Senior designated hitter Joey Warner (Indio, CA) sent a bases-clearing double to right field to stretch the Bulldogs' advantage to five runs.
Fast-forward to the top of the seventh, when senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) added to the Bulldogs' lead in a big way. After two teammates earned the free pass, Gardiner blasted a home run over the right-field fence to give the visitors an 8-0 lead.
Stead continued to impress from the mound by throwing a solid 7.2 innings with an incredible 11 strikeouts. This marks the second time this season that Stead has recorded 11 punch-outs. Sophomore pitcher Austin Williams (Redlands, CA) and first-year pitcher Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) took care of the rest of Occidental's lineup to complete the awesome, 8-0 shutout win.
After a short break, the teams jumped back into action for the third and final game of the conference series. Redlands wasted little time jumping on the board in the top of the first. With a runner on, Gardiner dinged a double for one run, advanced to third on a deep sacrifice fly, and then snuck home on a passed ball for the early 2-0 advantage.
Senior pitcher Noah Jones (San Bernardino, CA) was handed the pearl for game three. Although the Tigers matched Redlands' two runs in the bottom of the first, the 2-2 tie didn't last long, as the Bulldogs tacked on two more in the second. With a baserunner and two outs, senior second baseman Will Hall (Seattle, WA) muscled a shot over the fence to retake the Maroon and Gray's lead at 4-2.
In the fourth, with Singh on base, senior center fielder Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) sent a long single to left field that had enough on it to plate Singh from second.
Jones settled into a nice rhythm, striking out two over the second and third innings.
In the top of the fourth, the Bulldogs busted the game wide open with three runs on one hit and three Occidental blunders. This reenergized Jones as he had one of his best innings by sitting the side with three straight strikeouts.
Neither team produced much more offense, as the score remained at 8-2 through nine frames.
Defensively, first-year pitcher Chris Fousek Jr. (San Diego, CA) had a solid outing, striking out three of the six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings. First-year pitcher Justin Yang (Fountain Valley, CA) entered the game in the ninth and effectively retired the side with the help of his defense to preserve the 8-2 victory.
Redlands (27-9, 16-5 SCIAC) looks forward to a bye week for commencement before jumping back into SCIAC action with an important series against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. Game one is at Pomona-Pitzer on Friday, April 27, at 3 p.m. Redlands finishes out the conference regular season with a doubleheader against the Sagehens at The Yard on Saturday, April 28, at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.