The University of Redlands baseball team traveled to Tucson, AZ, for a four-game stint, starting with a face-off against the No. 14 Linfield College (OR) Wildcats on Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs settled in after a tight start to the game and broke away in a 7-2 victory over the in-region foe with 14 hits and a solid effort on the bump.
Acting as the visiting team, the Wildcats struck first by plating one run in the top of the second. However, the Bulldogs answered immediately, as junior catcher Kyle Wallau (San Mateo, CA) drove a two-out RBI-triple off the left-center-field wall to score senior third baseman Mark Tumlinson (Anaheim, CA).
After the Wildcats scored their second run of the contest, the Bulldogs matched their offensive output once more, as Tumlinson poked a single to right field to plate junior center-fielder Christian Conci (San Mateo, CA), who reached via walk.
Following a start during which he gave up two runs in the opening three innings, sophomore hurler Felix Minjarez (Riverside, CA) began to work more effectively on the mound by tossing up four-straight zeros and putting the game in the offense's hands.
Senior first baseman John Keane (Clayton, CA) led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a base-knock to put the pressure on the Wildcats early. He later came around to score on a sacrifice ground-out from senior left-fielder Mitch Samson (Orangevale, CA) for the Maroon and Gray's 3-2 advantage.
Redlands continued to shine at the dish by moving runners and doing jobs. Senior right-fielder Christian Gurrola (Torrance, CA) did just that, as he drove a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring junior second baseman Christopher Scalisi (Woodland Hills, CA) to push the Bulldogs' lead to 4-2.
Minjarez continued to roll on the bump by fanning two batters and utilizing his strong defense, which featured a pair of solid plays from sophomore shortstop Will Hall (Seattle, WA).
The team's solid defense and pitching inspired great offense, as the Bulldogs produced three more runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning. Tumlinson and Gurrola each barreled RBI-singles, plating Samson, Scalisi, and sophomore designated hitterJoey Warner (Indio, CA) to stretch the Maroon and Gray's lead to 7-2.
After tossing 7.1 strong innings with six strikeouts and a mere earned run, Minjarez handed the pearl off to sophomore reliever Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) and junior closer John White (Burbank, CA), who successfully maintained the five-run lead, en route to the quality win.
Minjarez earned his first win of the season by tossing up four zeros and finishing with six strikeouts. Stead gave up no runs and no hits in two-thirds of an inning, while White punched out two batters in the final frame.
Tumlinson paced the offense by going 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. Gurrola inked a solid day by going 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Wallau punched in a 2-for-4 day with a triple, double, and an RBI.
Tumlinson and Minjarez shared their thoughts on the big win and how they plan to maintain their early-season momentum.
Watch the interview here.
From top to bottom, Head Coach Aaron Holley was highly satisfied with what his team left on the diamond at game's end.
"If we play like that all year, we are going to have a lot of success," expressed Holley. "It was a matter of letting our offense go to work. We took quality at-bats. Everybody on the team contributed in one way or another, and that's the way we have to work."
The Bulldogs (2-0) take to the diamond for an in-region doubleheader against the Pacific Lutheran University (WA) Lutes on Saturday with the first pitch set at 3:30 p.m. (2:30 PST) in Tucson.