The University of Redlands baseball team welcomed the University of La Verne to The Yard for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game on Friday. Under blue skies, the Maroon and Gray edged the Leopards, 6-4, in a close conference match-up.
Junior hurler Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) was handed the ball for the first of the three-game series. Despite giving up a run in the top of the first, Minjarez's team backed him by plating three runs in the bottom of that inning to overtake the lead. Senior left fielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) led off with a single, which was followed by senior third basemen Christopher Scalisi's (Woodland Hills, CA) double to right field. Junior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) kept things rolling by launching a deep base hit for two RBI. Sophomore first basemen Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) capped off the solid inning with a double deep enough for Aguilar to score all the way from first.
Both pitchers made quick work of the next four innings, with Minjarez recording four punch-outs for the Maroon and Gray.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, La Verne plated two runs to tie the score at 3-3. The Leopards tacked on another in the sixth to take the one-score advantage.
In the bottom of that inning, the Bulldogs loaded the bases on a single, a hit-by-pitch, and a bunt for a base hit. Junior second basemen Will Hall (Seattle, WA) executed the sacrifice fly to left field that allowed pinch runner Nick Ono (Yorba Linda, CA) to utilize his speed for the game-tying run.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, junior pinch hitter Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) drew a walk and moved into scoring position on a sharply hit single by junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA). Junior right fielder Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) answered the call with a single to center field to plate the go-ahead run.
Junior pitcher Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) entered the game in the eighth and shut down the Leopards by fanning the first two batters.
The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on two singles off the bats of senior Christian Conci (San Mateo, CA) and Scalisi.
The Bulldogs called on senior pitcher John White (Burbank, CA) to close out the game. After giving up a single, White regrouped to strike out the next three batters and secure the important SCIAC victory.
The Bulldogs (20-11, 11-5 SCIAC) travel to La Verne tomorrow, April 8, for a doubleheader against the Leopards. The games are slated to start at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.