Thanks to a walk-off homerun by junior catcher Sean McMillan (Redwood City, CA) in Saturday's opener, the University of Redlands baseball team split the doubleheader against Chapman University at The Yard, winning game one, 6-4, while dropping the nightcap, 4-12. With the win in the second game of the day, the Panthers earned the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) series victory.
In Saturday's opener, the Panthers once again jumped on top early as they did on Friday, taking a 2-0 lead after the first three innings.
The Bulldogs did not get on the board until junior right-fielder Connor Hancock (Burbank, CA) ripped an RBI single to left field in the fifth, scoring U of R sophomore left-fielder Nathan Bowker (Edmond, OK) on the play.
Chapman (16-9, 12-6 SCIAC) tacked on one more in the seventh, but the Bulldogs responded with two runs in the bottom of the eighth, tying the game at 3-3.
After surrendering a run to the Panthers in the top half of the ninth frame, Redlands continued to fight, putting together one final rally. After freshman second baseman Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom half of the ninth, Hancock singled to center field. A couple of batters later, McMillan stepped up to the plate, and after working the count in his favor to three balls and one strike, he turned on the next pitch and crushed it over the right-field fence for the dramatic, walk-off homerun.
McMillan finished that first game going 2-for-3 at the dish with three RBI and one run scored, while Hancock also provided the Bulldogs with consistency at the plate, racking up a team-best three hits.
Sophomore pitcher Michael Collins (Upland, CA) went 6.2 strong innings for the Maroon and Gray, allowing just three runs while scattering nine hits. Junior pitcher Josh Makler (Portland, OR) garnered the win after pitching the ninth.
In the rubber match of the three-game stint, Makler took to the hill for the Bulldogs and went 4.1 innings while giving up seven runs, only six of which were earned.
The Bulldogs actually had a 4-3 lead at one point during Saturday's nightcap, but that lead would not hold, ultimately resulting in the tough eight-run defeat.
Junior shortstop Jordan Dresner (Etiwanda, CA) notched an impressive game at the plate in the loss, going 3-for-5 with a homerun. In addition, Scalisi tallied three hits and two RBI, while both Hancock and senior center-fielder Alex Scheiwe (Encinitas, CA) provided the Maroon and Gray with two hits apiece.
The U of R (10-18, 9-9 SCIAC) returns to action next Friday, April 4, when it hosts Occidental College (12-14, 8-7 SCIAC) at The Yard. First pitch for this conference contest is set for 3 p.m.