The University of Redlands baseball team completed a four-day stint in Arizona at the Cactus Classic with a Sunday morning game against the Pacific University (OR) Boxers. Despite a tough back-and-forth contest, the Bulldogs could not capitalize on base-runners in the bottom of the eighth and eventually fell by a score of 5-6.
Redlands served as the home team in the neutral-site showdown. Junior pitcher Noah Jones (San Bernardino, CA) took the hill in the first and quickly recorded the first out. Despite giving up homerun to the second batter, Jones regrouped and fanned the next two.
With the Bulldogs facing a slight deficit, senior center-fielder Christian Conci (San Mateo, CA) blasted a triple to kick off the bottom of the first. Senior second basemen Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) sent a ball deep to center field for a sacrifice fly, allowing Conci to score the equalizer early in the contest.
Although Jones gave up a single to Pacific's lead-off batter, junior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) fired a bullet to Scalisi to throw out the runner's steal attempt. After that moment, Jones dominated the second and third innings to fan three Boxers.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs through seven innings, while the Boxers added three.
With junior hurler Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) on the mound in the top of the eighth, the Boxers strung together a few hits and took advantage of some Redlands errors in the field to increase their lead by two more at 6-4.
With Redlands working to come from behind in the bottom of the eighth, sophomore designated hitter Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) stepped up to the plate and dinged a double to move Aguilar to third. After junior third basemen Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) drew a walk to load the bases, freshman first basemen Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA) reached on a fielder's choice before moving all the way to third on an error by the Boxers' catcher, which allowed both Moore and Gardiner to score. Unfortunately, the defense threw out the tying run at home.
After the error, the Bulldogs just could not capitalize in the eighth or ninth inning, eventually falling by a score of 5-6.
Jones ended the game with an impressive seven strikeouts, with Stead adding six in three innings of work.
The Bulldogs (3-3) open Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play on Friday, February 17, when they head to Chapman University for a 2:30 p.m. single game against the Panthers. The squad returns home to the Yard on Friday, February 18, for a doubleheader against Chapman, beginning at 11 a.m.