Needing to win out to keep its postseason hopes alive, the University of Redlands baseball team put together a valiant effort against the No. 9/17 Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen but fell short by a score of 4-5. After both teams jockeyed for position throughout the game, the visitors came up with the game-winning RBI in the top of the ninth and then stymied the Bulldogs in the final half-inning en route to the one-run decision on Commencement Saturday at the Yard.
With the score tied at four apiece in the top of the ninth, the Bulldogs looked to senior reliever Ross Orman (Corvallis, OR) to take over the mound after junior Josh Makler's (Portland, OR) productive start. With a runner at first and one out, Orman immediately forced a fly-out to bring up the Kingsmen's No. 3 batter. Head Coach Aaron Holley opted to intentionally walk him, putting runners on first and second.
However, CLU's Ramsey Abushahla knocked one past the infield through the right side, where junior right-fielder Connor Hancock (Burbank CA) came up firing in an effort to throw out the winning run. Although his attempt had plenty of power behind it, the runner got by the play to put the Kingsmen up by a score of 5-4.
With a walk and a ground-out, the Bulldogs moved Hancock to second in the subsequent inning, but to no avail, as he was stranded for the final out.
Redlands' big inning of the day came in the bottom of the fifth when it tied up the game at three apiece with a two-run performance. In addition to taking advantage of two Kingsmen miscues, the Bulldogs looked to sophomore left-fielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) to tally an RBI-single, plating freshman short stop Christian Conci (San Mateo, CA) from second base.
Overall, the Bulldogs registered seven hits on the day, with Samson providing the only multi-hit performance.
Makler went 8.1 innings with five strikeouts, five earned runs, and eight hits. Only one of the Kingsmen's hits came off something other than a single.
The Bulldog defense was impressive, as highlighted by a diving catch in foul territory and plenty of big infield plays.
With the loss, Redlands (14-22, 13-13 SCIAC) slips into fifth place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standings, sitting behind the University of La Verne. Even by winning their two final games, the Bulldogs can only overtake the Leopards if they drop their remaining contests against Cal Lutheran and Caltech. If the duo finishes with an even record, La Verne would win the head-to-head tiebreaker against Redlands after taking two of three from the Bulldogs earlier this season.