The No. 10/15 University of Redlands baseball team took on its final non-conference competitor of the regular season with a single game against Middlebury College (VT). On a warm, Wednesday afternoon, the Maroon and Gray used solid pitching and stingy defense to top the Middlebury Panthers, 4-1.
With sophomore pitcher Michael Rishebarger (Oceanside, CA) on the mound for the Bulldogs, the teams cruised through the first two innings.
Although the Panthers put up a run in the top of the third, their lead didn't last long, as the Bulldog offense revved up in the bottom of that frame. First-year designated hitter Jon Pacheco (Moreno Valley, CA) reached on a hit-by-pitch before first-year left fielder Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) followed that up with a two-bagger to left center to move Pacheco to third. Senior second baseman Will Hall (Seattle, WA) uncorked a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing both runners to runners to advance and tie the game at one. Senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) subsequently blasted a shot halfway up the right-center screen for an RBI and the Bulldogs' 2-1 lead.
Middlebury earned baserunners in the fourth, but senior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) threw down the runner on a heads-up, defensive play to secure the third out.
Back-to-back singles from Hall and Gardiner to start the bottom of the fourth forced Middlebury to make a pitching change. Nonetheless, Hall snuck home on a failed pick-off attempt for a 3-1 Bulldog lead. Aguilar provided the fourth and final RBI-base hit of the game to give Redlands a three-score advantage heading into the sixth.
Rishebarger backed his run support by throwing a 1-2-3 sixth inning. Redlands utilized three pitchers in the final three frames, with sophomore Austin Williams (Redlands, CA), first-year Chris Fousek Jr. (San Diego, CA), and first-year Justin Yang (Fountain Valley, CA) taking care of business. Each pitcher made quick work of Middlebury's lineup, going three-up, three-down in his respective inning.
Rishebarger was credited with the win, while Yang impressed by striking out two of the three batters he faced for his fifth save.
Redlands (22-6) jumps back into Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action with a weekend series against the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags. The series begins with a single game at The Yard on Friday, March 30, at 3 p.m.