While battling every step of the way, the University of Redlands baseball team led in both games of Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader but eventually fell 2-3 and 5-7 to No. 29 Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.
The Bulldogs started the first game with momentum when junior second baseman Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA) went yard for his fourth home run of the season.
Although the Kingsmen evened the score in the bottom of the second, first-year pitcher Andrew Rueter (San Diego, CA) threw back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to keep things tight. The Bulldogs mustered a 2-1 advantage on a sacrifice fly from first-year catcher Sammy Diaz (Palm Desert, CA) in the top of the fourth.
On the hill, Rueter continued to orchestrate a strong game with three-up, three-down frames in the fifth and sixth to shut down the Cal Lutheran bats. Defensively, he gained great support, as highlighted by Diaz registering the final out of the inning by throwing out a Kingsmen runner trying to steal second.
Despite senior first baseman Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) and Diaz beginning the top of the seventh with doubles, they were both left stranded.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, CLU came up with the game-winning play in the bottom of the ninth to steal game one, 3-2.
Moore went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Rueter matched a season-high six strikeouts in 8.2 innings pitched.
In game two, singles from senior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) and junior third baseman Anthony Acosta (Simi Valley, CA) set up sophomore right fielder Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) for a two-RBI double for the Bulldogs' early lead. Diaz sent Bridges home on a single up the middle on the next at-bat to aid a 3-0 advantage after one.
First-year pitcher Cameron Kundig (Redlands, CA) began the game strong with a 1-2-3 inning on three groundouts to Singh at shortstop, but Cal Lutheran put up a crooked number in the second to knot the score at three. Kundig turned in a three-up, three-down rebuttal in the third, but the Bulldogs could not capitalize on offense.
While facing a 3-5 deficit, the Bulldogs dug deep in the eighth to even the tally. Singh led off with a double at the top of the lineup before Renteria hit an RBI single up the middle to get him home. After a CLU pitching change, Acosta immediately rushed home on a wild pitch for the game-tying score.
However, the Kingsmen plated two runs in the bottom of the eighth to secure the 7-5 win.
Redlands (14-22-1, 8-13 SCIAC) remains on the road for the first game of a three-game series against Occidental College in the final matchup of the regular season on Friday, May 3, at 3 p.m.