The University of Redlands baseball team began its 2015 campaign at home on Tuesday by facing off against the La Sierra University Golden Eagles in a non-conference showdown. Despite trailing early in the contest, the Bulldogs charged back after scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and coasted their way to a 13-4 victory.
Senior pitcher Josh Makler (Portland, OR) was handed the ball for the season-opener at the Yard and started out on a high note, striking out the first two batters of the contest.
The left-handed craftsman continued to keep the Golden Eagles off the board through two innings, but found himself in trouble during the third frame after giving up a single with the bases loaded. However, Makler eventually worked his way out of the jam by punching out back-to-back batters.
But La Sierra grabbed a 2-0 lead after scoring in the top of the fourth by forcing an unearned run across home plate.
In the bottom half of the fourth inning, the Bulldog bats came alive as senior sluggers Connor Hancock (Burbank, CA) and Sean McMillan (Redwood City, CA) each blasted round-trippers over the right-field wall to lead off the inning. Hancock patiently worked his way back to a 2-2 count after quickly going down 0-2, which earned him a favorable pitch to crank over the fence. McMillan followed suit with a two-run blast following senior Jordan Dresner's (Etiwanda, CA) walk to quickly put the Bulldogs up 3-2.
A hit parade ensued for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fifth inning, as sophomore second baseman Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) drove a single up the middle to score junior first baseman Ryan Franklin (Manhattan Beach, CA). Sophomore designated hitter Kyle Wallau (San Mateo, CA), senior left-fielder Christian Gurrola (Torrance, CA), and McMillian each followed with an RBI to make it a 7-2 Redlands advantage.
La Sierra continued to fight in the top of the sixth by adding two runs credited to the players' patience at the plate, drawing three walks and one hit-by-pitch. Freshman reliever Matthew Acosta (San Bernardino, CA) entered into the game and stopped the rally by working his way out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam.
Redlands continued to roll at the dish, as Scalisi slapped a double in the gap to score Franklin, followed by a McMillan single to score Hancock, giving the Maroon and Gray a 9-4 lead.
Junior third basemen Mark Tumlinson (Anaheim, CA) drove a stand-up triple into the right center gap in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring junior right fielder Tyler Shreve (Redlands, CA) after he poked a single through the right side of the field. The freshman tandem of catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) and outfielder Joey Warner (Indio, CA) notched extra-base-hits in the bottom of the eighth inning, Aguilar's coming via double and Warner's coming via triple to expand the lead to 13-4.
The back end of the bullpen consisting of senior hurler Michael Collins (Upland, CA), Acosta, and Shreve held the Golden Eagles scoreless in the final three stanzas while striking out five to secure the Bulldogs'13-4 victory.
McMillan was a triple shy of the cycle, as he finished the day going 3-for-4 with a single, double, and a homerun to equal four RBI. Scalisi matched his three-hit day, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored.
Sophomore reliever John White (Burbank, CA) (1-0) picked up the victory after throwing a scoreless third inning.
The Bulldogs (1-0) return to action on Wednesday, February 4, when they face off against the Vanguard University Lions (7-2) in the friendly confines of the Yard at 2 p.m.