The University of Redlands baseball team welcomed in-region competitor Whitworth University (WA) to The Yard for a non-conference game against the Pirates on Sunday morning. Down 0-2 in the sixth in a scheduled seven-inning game, the Bulldogs bats came to life late with a home run in the sixth and an RBI single to walk-off with a 3-2 victory.
Senior pitcher Michael Rishebarger (Oceanside, CA) was handed the ball to start the game. Although Whitworth tacked on one run on two hits in the first, Rishebarger rolled through the next four innings, only allowing one hit and one walk.
Offensively, first-year second baseman Esteban Nakashima (Riverside, CA) and sophomore catcher Matthew Brumbaugh (Chula Vista, CA) hit doubles in the bottom of the first and second innings but the Pirates managed to secure all three outs before Redlands could plate any runs.
Similarly to the first, Whitworth put up another single run on two hits in the top of the sixth to pull ahead 2-0.
Sophomore first baseman Mark Kirkland (Redlands, CA) led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to right and advanced to second on a passed ball. First-year third baseman Max Clark (Etiwanda, CA) then stepped up and sent a two-run bomb to left to tie the score at 2-2.
At the top of the next inning, sophomore pitcher Chris Hardin (Highland, CA) came into a tough spot with the bases loaded and two outs. He impressed with a one-pitch, one-out outing to escape the jam unscathed.
With time running out in a scheduled seven-inning game, Nakashima laced a one-out double to right to get things started. Kirkland subsequently sent a single up the middle, and with speed on the base-paths Nakashima scored from second to walk-off with a 3-2 victory.
After postponing game three against Whittier due to rain, the Bulldogs welcomed the Poets back to The Yard to complete the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) series.
Sophomore pitcher Andrew Rueter (San Diego, CA) took the mound for the Bulldogs for the Sunday afternoon contest.
The Poets put up a run in the top of the first and were threatening to score another, but an accurate throw from junior right fielder Cal Bridges (Fremont, CA) to sophomore catcher Sammy Diaz (Palm Desert, CA) nabbed the runner heading home for the third out.
In the bottom of the second inning, after two singles and a sacrifice bunt that moved the runners to second and third, Diaz laced a screamer down the left-field line for two RBI and the lead.
However, Whittier retook the lead on a two-run home run in the top of the second to go-ahead 3-2.
Nonetheless, in the bottom of the fourth, Bridges and Diaz peppered the left-field line with two singles. Bridges was sent home on a subsequent sacrifice fly to tie the game, 3-3. Sophomore center fielder Payton Walsh (Santa Ana, CA) then dinged a double to the right-center gap for an RBI before senior third baseman Anthony Acosta (Simi Valley, CA) ended the scoring with an RBI single up the middle for a 5-3 advantage.
Rueter went on to strike out three over the next two innings. In addition, Redlands tacked on a run in both the sixth and the eighth innings on a pair of Kirkland doubles to go up 7-3.
Whittier managed to load the bases in the top of the ninth with no outs before Bridges moved from right-field to pitcher. Although the Poets plated one run on a sacrifice fly, Bridges secured two more routine flyouts to hold on to the 7-4 victory and the save.
The Bulldogs (7-4, 3-0 SCIAC) host the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags for a SCIAC game on Friday, February 28, at 2:30 p.m. at the Yard.