Bullpen, long ball lead baseball to win over Redlands

Mason Collins (photo by Larry Newman)
Mason Collins (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – Mason Collins and Matt Mogollon combined for eight-plus innings of a relief gem as the Chapman University baseball team rallied to defeat No. 23 Redlands 7-3 in the series-opener on Friday. Collins earned his first career win on the mound in his longest outing of the season.

Chapman (15-10, 9-4 SCIAC) ran into trouble early on as Redlands plated two early runs. The Bulldogs (17-9, 10-6 SCIAC) took advantage of back-to-back walks to start the game with consecutive run-scoring singles. After a sacrifice bunt moved two more runners into scoring position, Collins was called out of the bullpen.

The freshman reliever hit the first batter he face before getting an inning-ending double play to limit the damage to just the two runs. The Panthers didn't respond immediately but Collins relief gem kept the home team in the ball game. He tossed six and two-thirds stellar innings, allowing only a run on five hits.

After the initial hit by pitch, Collins retired 11 batters in a row from the first through fifth. When a couple of singles broke his streak, Collins quickly induced a pop up to left and grounder to keep the Panthers within a run.

On the other end of the inning, the Panthers scratched out a run in the third without the benefit of a hit. A walk, an error, a sacrifice bunt and a chopper to second brought home Andrew Mendonca. The bats really came to life in the fifth.

After the first 17 Panthers to the plate managed just two hits off Redlands' starter Felix Menjarez, senior Tim Alhanati sparked a rally with his first of three extra-base hits on the day – a double to right center. He later doubled to the left center gap and smacked a solo homer over the scoreboard in left.

Alhanati came scored and tied the game at 2-2 when Trevor Willits beat out the Bulldogs attempt at turning two on his grounder to first. Conner Larkin followed with a perfectly executed a hit-and-run play to put runners on the corners. Sophomore Jared Love delivered the big blow with a towering, three-run homer to left center to put Chapman ahead 5-2.

Redlands got a run back in the sixth but the Panthers matched it in the bottom half. Konnor Zickefoose tripled to continue his stellar freshman year and keep his batting average at .500 for the season. Gavin Blodgett quickly singled him in to keep Chapman's lead at three. Alhanati's solo homer provided another insurance run.

Mogollon took over for Collins in the eighth and pitched two scoreless innings for his first career save. He retired the Bulldogs in order in the eighth before hitting a batter and allowing a single in the ninth.

The Panthers complete the crucial SCIAC series at Redlands with a doubleheader tomorrow, needing a win to leapfrog the Bulldogs for third place.


by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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