The University of Redlands baseball team hosted Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) foe, Chapman University, on a beautiful Friday afternoon at The Yard. The game stayed close until the sixth inning when Redlands broke out the bats to score seven runs on five hits en route to a 10-4, conference-opening win.
Senior pitcher Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) climbed the hill for the Bulldogs. Despite allowing baserunners in the first inning, he recorded two strikeouts and got out of the inning unscathed.
Senior second basemen Will Hall (Seattle, WA) led off the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle and later moved over to third on back-to-back stolen bases. A passed ball allowed Hall to sneak home for the early 1-0 Bulldog lead.
Both pitchers made quick work of the opposing offenses by putting up zeroes in the second, third, and fourth innings. Minjarez recorded six strikeouts over the three innings of work.
However, the Panthers scored twice in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly and a single through the right side to take the lead 2-1.
The Maroon and Gray matched the run on a Hall sacrifice lineout to deep left field that sent senior center fielder Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) home from third.
Although Chapman scored another in the top of the sixth inning, the visitors' lead didn't last long, as the home team busted out the bats in the bottom of that inning to score seven runs on five hits. Senior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) led off the inning with a double to center. Junior first basemen Brenden Moore (Murrieta, CA) followed suit with a single before first-year designated hitter Jon Pacheco (Moreno Valley, CA) laced a single through the left side for his first RBI as a Bulldog. Amidst three walks, two pitching changes, a fielder's choice, an error, and a wild pitch, Redlands had tacked on three runs but wasn't done yet.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Aguilar sent a shot through the left side for two RBI. Moore capped off the hot inning with a double to plate senior third basemen Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA), who got on base via walk.
First-year pitcher Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) took over the mound in the top of the seventh with a 9-3 lead. With a runner on, Bridges pitched for the ground ball that his defense successfully rolled up for the double play. Although Bridges recorded a quick two outs, the Panthers managed to tack on one run before the end of the inning.
Although senior right fielder Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) and junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) hit back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the seventh, Redlands could not manage to get them all the way around, which left the Bulldogs' advantage well in hand at 9-4.
Bridges continued to impress on the hill by recording the only three-up, three-down inning in the top of the eighth. Hall provided a highlight-reel, defensive play when he snagged a screamer to his right to record the third out.
Staying hot at the plate, Aguilar led off the eighth with a long double to left center. Moore subsequently roped a hit up the middle to score Aguilar to make it 10-4.
Upon conclusion of the eighth inning, the officials called the game due to darkness, resulting in a huge, conference-opening win for the Maroon and Gray.
Minjarez recorded the win with an impressive nine strikeouts. Aguilar knocked two doubles while he and Moore led the team with two RBI each. Hall dazzled on the base-paths with two stolen bases and two runs scored.
Redlands (4-1, 1-0 SCIAC) looks to carry this winning momentum into tomorrow's doubleheader of the three-game series against Chapman. Saturday's contests take place at Hart Park in Orange and are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.