The University of Redlands baseball team took on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges and Sul Ross State University (TX) on Friday to kick off the Cactus Classic in Tucson, AZ. With impressive offense and steady pitching, the Bulldogs captured a 14-9 win over the Stags and a 20-6 thrashing over the Lobos in two non-conference tilts.
In the opener, first-year pitcher Chris Fousek Jr. (San Diego, CA) enjoyed a great first inning as a Bulldog by retiring the top of the order with two strikeouts. Redlands backed up its pitcher by jumping on the board first, but CMS put up two crooked numbers in the top of the second and third inning to go ahead, 4-1.
With two on and one out, senior right fielder Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) rocketed a triple down the right-field line for two RBI. Sophomore designated hitter Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA) sent him home with a double to left field. After two singles, stolen bases, walks, and a pitching change, Redlands had scored two more runs with the bases still loaded. Senior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) stepped up and sent a bases-clearing double to right field. Junior first basemen Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) capped off the nine-run, half inning with an RBI-single to make it 10-4 for the Maroon and Gray.
After the Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the fourth on two hits, the Stags never completely backed off and added six runs over the next four innings. First-year pitcher Parker Sand (Everett, WA) climbed the hill in the sixth, while first-year pitcher Matt Crow (Lake Elsinore, CA) lifted him late in the seventh.
Although Redlands held a 12-9 advantage in the eighth, the Bulldogs tacked on two insurance runs before the end of the contest. Senior left fielder Nick Ono (Yorba Linda, CA) reached first on a hit-by-pitch and subsequently stole second before senior third basemen Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) roped a double to left for the RBI. Junior catcher Bart In den Kleef (Oosterhout, Netherlands) followed suit with a single up the middle for the Maroon and Gray's 14th and final run.
Fousek Jr. earned the win in his first start as a Bulldog. Aguilar and Babbitt ended with three RBI each.
After a quick afternoon break, Redlands' bats came back even stronger in its 20-6 victory over Sul Ross. This time, senior pitcher Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) was handed the pearl for the nightcap game. Both teams put up three runs in the first and none in the second to start the game. Stead had an awesome 1-2-3 second inning that included two strikeouts.
Redlands' offense came alive in the third, scoring four runs on two hits. The Bulldogs also added another in the fourth and put up a four-spot in the fifth inning to go ahead, 12-3.
The sixth inning was yet another bright spot in Redlands' hot offensive showing, as Gardiner hit a single to right field that scored two. With two on and two out, Moore stepped up to the plate and sailed a dinger over the left-field fence for a three-run bomb and a 17-4 advantage.
First-year pitcher Mason Hitz (Boulder, CO) entered the game in the seventh and gave up a quick single but immediately calmed his nerves to sit the next three batters in order.
With fresh players in the field, the Maroon and Gray continued its dominance in the eighth. In den Kleef blasted an RBI-double to left center before first-year first basemen Brennen Carr (Chino Hills, CA) uncorked an RBI-single for the Bulldogs.
Sophomore pitcher Michael Rishebarger (Oceanside, CA) was called in to finish out the ninth inning. Despite giving up two runs on two hits, he assisted in preserving the massive 20-6 victory.
Moore put together a terrific day by going 6-for-10, with a double and a homerun for six RBI. Babbitt also impressed over the two games with two doubles and a triple.
Redlands (2-0) looks to ride this momentum into tomorrow's game against the University of Texas at Dallas at Kino Stadium in Tucson. First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m. PST.