On Sunday morning, Redlands baseball met up with the University of Texas at Dallas for the third and final non-conference game of the series. Although the Bulldogs gave up an early lead, they clawed away at the deficit little by little eventually taking the game in thrilling, comeback fashion, 3-2.
Despite giving up two runs on three hits in the top of the first, sophomore pitcher Andrew Rueter (San Diego, CA) regrouped and rolled through the Comets batters, allowing only two hits over the next six innings while also striking out four.
The Maroon and Gray cut the deficit in half on a hit, an error, and a sacrifice fly to make it 1-2 after two.
A pitching duel ensued over the next four innings, with a defensive highlight coming in the top of the fourth. After giving up a single, the next Comet batter lined out to first-year shortstop Jonah Advincula (Santa Clara, CA) who then made a quick throw to first to catch the runner flat-footed for the double play. Rueter blew one past the subsequent batter for a backward K and the third out. Rueter repeated his efforts in the fifth, recording a strikeout for the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh after one out, sophomore first baseman Mark Kirkland (Redlands, CA) sent a triple up the dirt hill in right-center. Now with two outs, first-year third baseman Max Clark (Etiwanda, CA) stayed calm at the plate and drove a single to left field, scoring Kirkland and tying the game at 2-2.
Although the Bulldogs mustered two more hits that inning, nobody came all the way around for a 2-2 tie after seven.
Junior pitcher Matt Crow (Lake Elsinore, CA) took over pitching duties in the top of the eighth and took care of the first batter by way of strikeout and lifted two routine fly-outs to center to put the Bulldogs back on offense quickly.
In the top of the eighth, sophomore Chris Hardin (Highland, CA) came in as a pinch-hitter and led off with a triple to nearly the same spot Kirkland did in the previous inning. After a hit-by-pitch, Advincula stepped up to the plate and sent a screamer that skipped over first base for a double down the right-field line to score Hardin and take the 3-2 lead late in the game.
Hardin subsequently came in to pitch to close out the ninth inning. After recording an out, the Comets made things interesting with two singles and a fly-out with their runner tagging and getting to third. With two on and two outs, Hardin got behind in the count but dug deep and struck out the final batter looking to seal the 3-2 victory and record his first save.
Redlands (3-4) heads to Whittier College to open conference play against the Poets on Friday, February 21, at 2:30 p.m.