After holding on to the lead through the final seven innings, the University of Redlands baseball team collected Head Coach Aaron Holley's first win at the helm of the program with a 7-6 barn-burner against the University of La Verne on Friday. With 14 hits and a strong closing performance by freshman Max Winkelhake (Seattle, WA), the Bulldogs nabbed their first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) triumph of the year in the team's home opener.
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Winkelhake entered the game and stepped up to the challenge. Facing the middle of the order, he battled well against L a Verne's Pedro Espinoza, finally fanning him for the second out of the frame. During another long at-bat against George Holland, Winkelhake came up with the clutch ground-out, with junior shortstop Jordan Dresner (Etiwanda, CA) easily tagging second on the fielder's choice play to preserve the Bulldogs' triumph.
But before that point of the game, the Maroon and Gray found its offensive rhythm, beginning when Dresner led off the third inning with a home run. Sophomore third baseman Mark Tumlinson (Topeka, KS) extended the Bulldogs' early advantage with a beautifully-placed sacrifice fly-out to left field, scoring senior center-fielder Alex Scheiwe (Encinitas, CA), who singled before stealing second.
The Bulldogs rattled the relief pitcher from La Verne in the bottom of the fifth by firing off four runs on four hits and two errors. After Dresner walked, Scheiwe uncorked a triple to deep right-center to initiate the offensive spurt. Junior right-fielder Connor Hancock (Burbank, CA), junior catcher Sean McMillan (Redwood City, CA), and senior designated hitter Max Hardman (Encinitas, CA) also provided RBI during this inning.
Although La Verne chipped away at the deficit late in the game, freshman pitcher Hayden Haight (Redlands, CA) and senior Ross Orman (Corvallis, OR) made important contributions from the mound to set up Winkelhake's save. In addition, the Bulldog defense came up big, including three double plays over the course of the game, to halt any offensive momentum by the Leopards.
Junior Josh Makler (Portland, OR) shined in his third start of the season, earning the win after 6.1 innings of work.
Scheiwe and Hardman both finished the day with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, while freshman left-fielder Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) and Dresner each tallied two hits for the Maroon and Gray.
After the game, Holley reflected upon his first head-coaching win with the Bulldogs and how it all came together.
The Bulldogs (1-5, 1-0 SCIAC) head to Rio Hondo College on Saturday to complete the three-game series against the University of La Verne with an 11 a.m. doubleheader.