The University of Redlands baseball squad took to non-conference action on Friday with a doubleheader that featured the Rutgers University – Newark (NJ) Scarlet Raiders in game one and the Ithaca College (NY) Bombers in game two. The Bulldogs pushed their winning-streak to four games by defeating the Scarlet Raiders, 12-6, and the Bombers, 12-5.
In game one against Rutgers-Newark, the Maroon and Gray put up a six-spot in the bottom of the third inning to expand its lead and maintain a comfortable margin for the remainder of the contest.
Down by one going into the bottom of the third, Redlands gained three-consecutive RBI-knocks with two runners on to initiate the rally. Senior shortstop Jordan Dresner (Etiwanda, CA), senior center-fielder Connor Hancock (Burbank, CA), and junior outfielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) fired off hits to make it 4-2, while a Rutgers-Newark miscue allowed another run to cross home plate. Sophomore third baseman Christian Conci (San Mateo, CA) followed the RBI-train by blasting a two-out, two-RBI dinger to put an exclamation point on an inning that pushed the score to 7-2 in Redlands' favor.
After giving up two runs early on, freshman southpaw Noah Jones (San Bernardino, CA) settled down by tossing a scoreless second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings en route to five strikeouts.
Redlands remained relentless on offense, successfully tallying double-digit scoring for the seventh time this season. Freshman designated hitter Joey Warner (Indo, CA) joined the RBI action in the bottom of the fourth inning by lining a base-hit up the middle to plate Samson for a 9-2 advantage. Late in the game, the freshman duo of right-fielder Nick Ono (Yorba Linda, CA) and second baseman Will Hall (Seattle, WA) added insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning by notching back-to-back bases-loaded singles to extend the lead to nine runs at 12-3.
The reliever quartet of senior Josh Makler (Portland, OR), freshman Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA), junior Tyler Shreve (Redlands, CA), and freshman Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) finished up the game on the hill to secure a 12-6 victory.
Overall, Dresner went 3-for-4 in in the contest with two runs scored and two RBI, while Samson followed with a 2-for-3 showing with two runs scored and two RBI. Hancock finished the game on a 3-for-4 note with an RBI and two runs scored.
Jones picked up the victory after tossing six solid innings and fanning five batters in the process.
In game two, the Bombers struck first by putting a crooked number on the board in the opening frame to grab a quick 4-0 lead.
However, the U of R responded without hesitation, as Scalisi led off the inning with a screaming double to left-center field and later came around to score on a single down the right-field line by senior catcher Sean McMillan (Redwood City, CA). Dresner successfully drove a sacrifice fly deep to right field, allowing Samson to cross the plate to trim the deficit to two runs at 2-4.
Despite a rough first inning, freshman starter Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) adjusted to hold the Bombers scoreless through the following three innings while recording four strikeouts, three of which were looking.
Bulldog base-running became a major factor in the bottom of the fourth, as Shreve and senior designated hitter Christian Gurrola (Torrance, CA) showed off their wheels by swiping a bag each. Shreve eventually came around to score after Ithaca attempted to throw out Gurrola while he was stealing second. Scalisi, Samson, and McMillan teamed up to notch three-consecutive RBI-hits for Redlands' 7-4 advantage.
Smart, fundamental baseball helped Redlands register two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Samson plated Conci after simply putting the ball in play. A batter later, McMillian drove a sacrifice fly out to center field to plate Samson, pushing the score to 9-4.
Minjarez continued to deal, holding the Bombers scoreless for the remainder of his appearance while scattering nine hits and striking out a career-high 10 batters.
The Bulldogs added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth with Gurrola and Scalisi each notching a sacrifice fly. Junior first baseman John Keane (Clayton, CA) came around to score on a balk for the 12-4 lead.
Samson continued his red-hot streak at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored. McMillan went 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Scalisi notched a 3-for-4 game with two RBI and two runs scored.
After the doubleheader victory, Samson and Dresner shared their thoughts on the team's keys to success.
The Bulldogs (12-5) host Spalding University (KY) on Saturday, March 14, at the Yard. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.