The University of Redlands baseball team headed to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday to continue the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) series against the Stags. Behind solid pitching, the Bulldogs got ahead and stayed ahead to take the first game by a score of 7-3. Unfortunately, a big third inning in game two for the Stags was too much for Redlands to overcome for its first loss in eight games.
The Maroon and Gray wasted no time in putting up a single run in the first. Senior third baseman Brendan Gardiner (Mission Viejo, CA) led off with a base hit and subsequently stole second. He scored on senior catcher Rainier Aguilar's (San Bernardino, CA) knock up the middle for the early lead.
The Bulldogs added another run in nearly the exact same way with a single and a stolen base from Gardiner, and then an RBI-double from Aguilar for a 2-0 Bulldog lead.
Senior starter Adam Stead (Rialto, CA) was money from the mound by striking out five in the first three innings.
Redlands' offense stayed hot, as junior shortstop Aaron Singh (Anaheim, CA) uncorked a double and advanced to third on a passed ball, before senior right fielder Jordan Babbitt (Highland, CA) drew a walk and swiped second. With speed and agility, Babbitt and Singh executed the double steal for the third run. Senior left fielder Nick Ono's (Yorba Linda, CA) single through the right side plated Babbitt for a 4-0 Bulldog advantage.
Stead continued to deal strikes with three more punch-outs over the next three innings.
Senior second baseman Will Hall (Seattle, WA) touched home on another Aguilar single to start the seventh. With Gardiner on third, sophomore designated hitter Andrew Renteria (Van Nuys, CA) sent a deep sacrifice fly to plate Gardiner for a 6-0 lead.
Redlands put up its seventh and final run in the top of the eighth on a Singh double, Ono single, and Hall's sacrifice lineout for the RBI.
Although the Stags put up a three-spot in the bottom of the eighth off first-year pitcher Nick Hammel (San Diego, CA), Hammel secured the first two outs before junior hurler Austin Williams (Redlands, CA) came in to take care of the third. Williams threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth for a 7-3 win in game one.
Stead ended the game with nine strikeouts, while Aguilar impressed at the plate by going 4-for-4 with a double and three RBI.
After a short break, the teams squared off for game three of the series. Senior pitcher Noah Jones (San Bernardino, CA) threw a three-up, three-down first inning.
In the bottom of the second, with the bases loaded for the Stags, Jones executed a nice pick-off play to third base to snag the leadoff runner. Redlands' defense rolled up the double play to escape the inning unscathed.
The visiting team jumped on the board on a solo shot to right field off the bat of Hall. Unfortunately, the Stags matched the run, plus three more, to put the Bulldogs in a 1-4 hole in the bottom of that frame. First-year pitcher Matt Crow (Lake Elsinore, CA) entered the game and struck out the final batter of the inning.
Junior first base man Brendan Moore (Murrieta, CA) attempted the comeback by himself as he went yard to cut the deficit to 2-4 through four. In the bottom of that inning, CMS added one run on one hit.
Fast-forward to the eighth inning, when the Bulldogs tacked on a run on a base hit and a Stag error. However, that was all the Maroon and Gray would muster and suffered the 3-5 loss.
Redlands (24-7, 12-3 SCIAC) looks to return to the win column with a big SCIAC series against the University of La Verne. Game one is at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 6, at La Verne. The series finishes with a doubleheader at The Yard on Saturday, April 7, starting at 11 a.m.