The University of Redlands baseball team continued Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Friday afternoon against the University of La Verne Leopards in the first of a three-game series. Although the weather showed gloomy skies at ULV's West Campus Athletics Complex, the lights shined the brightest on freshman starter Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA), who tossed an eight-inning, no-hitter, as the Bulldogs enjoyed smooth sailing in the 10-0 mercy-rule victory.
Minjarez climbed the bump for his fourth start of the season and proved to be downright dominant on Friday by strategically changing speeds and working both sides of the dish like a seasoned artist of his craft.
"I just wanted to go out there and limit their [the Leopards'] success and give my team a chance to win," said Minjarez.
The lone La Verne baserunner came via walk in the third inning, but that was the home team's only opportunity.
Minjarez fed off a Maroon and Gray offense that pushed across 10 runs in the contest, as highlighted by a six-run fourth inning. Senior catcher Sean McMillan (Redwood City, CA) led off the frame with a seeing-eye single through the right side and later came around to score off the bat of senior shortstop Jordan Dresner (Etiwanda, CA), who placed a triple into the right-center gap. Senior center-fielder Connor Hancock followed with a sacrifice lineout to left field, plating Dresner for the 2-0 advantage.
Junior left-fielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) kept the inning alive with a two-out, three-bagger that scored sophomore designated hitter Kyle Wallau (San Mateo, CA) and junior first baseman Ryan Franklin (Manhattan Beach, CA). The scoring spurt continued, as sophomore second baseman Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) reached on an error, allowing Samson to cross the plate. Junior third baseman Mark Tumlinson (Anaheim, CA) capitalized on his free at-bat by barreling up a triple to dead-center, scoring Scalisi to expand the Bulldog lead to 6-0.
Hancock added two runs in the top of the seventh inning by blasting a double to right center-field, scoring Scalisi and Dresner, after they reached on singles.
In the eighth, McMIllan capped off the solid offensive showing with an RBI-single for the Bulldogs' 10th run of the game.
Minjarez took the mound during the final half-inning and fed off some clutch "web-gems" from Dresner, who made a leaping grab to his right to rob the Leopards of a line-drive single and later barehanded a blooper that took a bad hop to secure the first and third out, respectively.
"I was very anxious off the bat," expressed Minjarez. "The adrenaline I felt was intense and as the ball was being thrown my heart dropped and I knew he was out. It was definitely the best feeling in the world."
Minjarez (4-0) finished with four strikeouts during his eight-inning no-hitter. Redlands' last no-hitter was tossed by senior pitcher Josh Makler (Portland, OR), who accomplished the feat on April 12, 2014, in a win against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.
Offensively, Scalisi finished the day by going 4-for-5 with an RBI. Hancock notched a game-high three RBI and scored one run. Samson was 2-for4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Dresner complemented his efforts on defense with a 2-for-4 showing at the dish with an RBI and two runs scored.
Redlands (7-3, 4-3 SCIAC) completes the three-game series against the Leopards by hosting them in a SCIAC doubleheader on Saturday, February 28, at 11 a.m. in the friendly confines of the Yard.