The No. 11/15 University of Redlands baseball team traveled to the University of La Verne on Friday to take on the Leopards in game one of their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) series. The Bulldogs had their ace on the mound and scored six runs on 13 hits, but a late-game blunder led to Redlands' 6-7, extra-inning loss.
With senior pitcher Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) dealing from the mound, the Bulldogs cruised through the first three innings while allowing only two baserunners on a walk and a hit.
The Bulldogs earned a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) sent a triple into the right-center gap, scoring senior second baseman Will Hall (Seattle, WA) for the first run of the game.
However, the Leopards' bats woke up with five runs over the next four innings to take a 5-1 lead into the eighth.
Nonetheless, the Bulldogs' offense finally caught fire and pushed across four runs in the top of the eighth inning. With two on and no one out, senior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) singled to center and brought home Hall for his second run scored on the day. After a walk and two outs recorded, a passed ball handed the Bulldogs another run and led to a huge two-out, two-RBI double by senior outfielder Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) that tied the game at 5-5.
First-year pitcher Justin Yang (Fountain Valley, CA) lifted Minjarez in the ninth and pitched out of the stretch to escape the frame unscathed and send the game into extras. The Bulldogs wasted no time in getting a runner on with a leadoff triple to right-center field by junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA). With two outs and Singh still at third, senior outfielder Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) sent a double over the right fielder's head to put Redlands back in front, 6-5.
Now with first-year pitcher Chris Fousek Jr. (San Diego, CA) on the mound, the Leopards took advantage of a wild pitch in the bottom half of the 10th to score the tying run to make it 6-6.
Redlands' only offense in the top of the 11th came off Aguilar's bat for a single. Unfortunately, he was stranded on first and the Leopards went to work in the bottom half of the frame. With the bases loaded on two hits, a sacrifice bunt, and a walk, a costly error by the Bulldogs gave La Verne the walk-off victory by a final score of 7-6.
Kabeary finished the day with a 4-for-5 performance at the plate that led to two RBI.
The Bulldogs (24-8, 12-4 SCIAC) look to quickly bounce back on Saturday, April 7, as they host La Verne in a doubleheader at The Yard. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m.