After a 24-hour rain delay, the University of Redlands baseball team headed to Cal Lutheran University to finish the last two of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) three-game series against the Kingsmen. With Friday's sizable win providing great momentum, the Maroon and Gray looked to stay hot against the defending national champions in the doubleheader.
Senior pitcher Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) climbed the bump for the Bulldogs and did not allow a hit in his first two innings of work.
In the top of the third, senior second basemen Will Hall (Seattle, WA) and senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner(Mission Viejo, CA) roped back-to-back singles and then successfully executed the double steal for runners on second and third with no outs. Senior catcher Rainier Aguilar (San Bernardino, CA) supplied an RBI to put Redlands on the board. Junior first basemen Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) subsequently smashed an RBI-base hit for a 2-0 advantage to head into the bottom of the third.
With one out and two runners on in the bottom of the fourth, Stead impressed by dealing two strikeouts to escape the inning unscathed.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh innings proved to be a pitchers' duel, as each ace cruised through his respective batters. Stead put on a clinic from the mound, striking out six batters over just three innings.
In the top of the eighth, junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) sent a chopper to the outfield for a ground-rule double before sophomore designated hitter Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA) split the infield with a single up the middle to plate Singh for the 3-0 lead.
Stead continued to deal through the eighth and retired one in the ninth. First-year pitcher Justin Yang (Fountain Valley, CA) took over pitching duties and walked the bases loaded with the winning run at the plate with only one out. Thankfully, Yang pitched a short fly-out to right, which forced the runner on third to stay put and avoid testing the arm of senior right fielder Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA). Yang struck out the last batter of the game to preserve the win and earn his second save of his young career.
Stead pitched a career-high 11 strikeouts while dispersing only five hits for no runs.
Senior pitcher Noah Jones (San Bernardino, CA) took the pearl for the Bulldogs in the final game against Cal Lutheran. He gave up two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first to put Redlands in their first hole of the series against the Kingsmen.
Nonetheless, the visiting team matched the score in the fourth frame on one hit and a pair of CLU miscues. Renteria earned two RBI on a sharp single.
With a tie game on the line, Jones quickly put his team back on offense by retiring the side with a pair of punch-outs and a routine infield play. Jones continued to throw filthy pitches through the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.
The teams headed into the bottom of the eighth in a 2-2 stalemate.
Sophomore hurler Austin Williams (Redlands, CA) inherited two baserunners in the bottom of the eighth when he came in to pitch. Cal Lutheran drove in two runs to take the lead at 4-2. With only an inning left, the Maroon and Gray had some work to do and quickly, if they wanted to rally back to complete the sweep.
With one out, first-year right fielder Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) laced a triple to left center. Senior center fielder Kyle Kabeary(Indio, CA) saw his opportunity at the plate and muscled a two-run home run over the fence to tie the score at four.
In the bottom of the ninth, first-year pitcher Chris Fousek Jr. (San Diego, CA) retired three of four batters with fly-outs to send the game into extra innings.
Redlands dazzled with offense in the 10th, as Aguilar took a solo trip around the bases with a home run for the 5-4 lead. However, the hits didn't stop there, as Moore followed with a single and Singh smacked a double down the right-field line. Renteria capped off the spurt with a sacrifice fly to plate Moore.
Fousek returned to the mound in the bottom of the 10th with a 6-4 lead. He blew past the batters with two-straight strikeouts before Gardiner snagged the game-ending pop fly at third base for the comeback, series sweep against the defending national champions.
Redlands (10-3, 7-2 SCIAC) takes a break from conference action when it welcomes Ursinus College (PA) to The Yard for a 12 noon doubleheader on Monday, March 5.