The 10/15 Redlands baseball team jumped back into Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Friday afternoon at The Yard. Despite getting down early, the Bulldogs busted out the bats with 12 hits for a 7-3, comeback win.
The Stags jumped on the board with two runs on three hits and one Bulldog miscue in the top of the first. Nonetheless, senior starting pitcher Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) came back stronger than ever in the second inning by striking out the side. He continued to deal and struck out two more in the third frame.
Minjarez's offense backed him with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third to take the lead, 3-2. First-year right fielder Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) started the spurt with a lead-off double down the left-field line. Now with two outs and a runner on third, senior second baseman Will Hall (Seattle, WA) continued to hammer the left-field line with a two-base hit to plate Bridges. Redlands stayed hot at the plate, as senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) traded places with Hall on a double through the right side. Senior catcher Rainier Aguilar's (San Bernardino, CA) RBI-single completed the productive frame.
The Bulldogs continued to roll by putting up another three-spot in the bottom of the fifth. With Bridges and senior left fielder Nick Ono (Yorba Linda, CA) on base, Gardiner roped a single to center field to score Bridges. After a CMS pitching change, junior first baseman Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) beat out a hard-hit single to third base that scored another run. The home team capped off the scoring spurt as Gardiner snuck home on a passed ball to go ahead by a score of 6-2 through five.
In the seventh inning, with two strikes against him, senior center fielder Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) laced a base hit through the left side. Senior Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) was called upon as a pinch hitter and did his job on one pitch with a single to right. With a runner on second, the CMS defense was shifted towards second base, leaving a huge gap for Bridges to line a shot through the 5-6 hole and score Kabeary.
CMS earned baserunners in the top of the seventh but an amazing, backhanded flick from Hall to junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) to Moore secured the first two outs in an impressive double play. Although the Stags added a single run on a wild pitch, Minjarez regrouped to sit down the final batter for his ninth strikeout of the game.
First-year pitcher Chris Fousek Jr. (San Diego, CA) threw a 1-2-3, eighth inning with two punch-outs. First-year pitcher Justin Yang (Fountain Valley, CA) followed that with a three up, three down inning of his own in the ninth to secure the conference victory, 7-3.
Redlands (23-6, 11-2 SCIAC) continues its series with the Stags, in Claremont on Saturday, March 31, for a doubleheader, beginning at 11 a.m.