The University of Redlands baseball team held an early lead but eventually fell, 5-8, to the No. 15/14 Chapman University Panthers in an exciting Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) battle on Friday afternoon at the Yard.
The Bulldogs' defense got out to a hot start when sophomore pitcher Chris Fousek Jr. (San Diego, CA) picked off the lead hitter for the first out of the contest. During the Panthers' next at-bat, first-year center fielder Payton Walsh (Santa Ana, CA) chased down a single and tossed it to junior second baseman Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA), who dove to make the tag to avoid giving up the double. Fousek completed Redlands' strong effort with a strikeout to retire the side.
For the second time this season, senior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) led off with a triple to get things going for the Bulldogs. Two batters later, he reached home to put the Maroon and Gray up by a run after one inning.
Although the Panthers tied it up in the third, the Bulldogs produced a solid fifth inning to pull back ahead. With two outs, Walsh set things up with a triple that nearly cleared the right-field fence. After Singh earned a free pass, junior third baseman Anthony Acosta (Simi Valley, CA) blasted a two-RBI double to right center for the Bulldogs' 3-1 advantage.
However, the Panthers regained the momentum by putting up a crooked number in the top of the seventh. They tacked on two more runs in the top of the eighth to hold an 8-3 lead.
Nonetheless, the Bulldogs continued to battle by loading the bases and eventually scoring when first-year catcher Sammy Diaz (Palm Desert, CA) was hit by a pitch. On the next play, sophomore right fielder Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) hit an RBI single to center field, but the Maroon and Gray fell short in the 5-8 loss.
For the game, both Acosta and senior first baseman Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) tallied two hits, while Acosta also recorded two RBI. On the hill, first-year pitcher Chris Hardin (San Bernardino, CA) tallied three strikeouts in 1.1 innings pitched.
Redlands (9-12, 1, 3-4 SCIAC) continues its three-game series against Chapman on Saturday, March 23, in Orange. First pitch of the SCIAC doubleheader is slated for 11 a.m.