The Chapman baseball team edged Redlands, 6-5 in an elimination game of the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship during Whitworth regional play in Spokane, Wash. on Friday.
With the win, Chapman improves to 35-12 on the season and will play again Saturday at 6 p.m. against Texas-Dallas in an elimination game. Redlands concludes its season with an overall ledger of 33-13.
After getting out of a jam in the top of the first inning, the Panthers found its offensive rhythm quickly in the bottom of the inning when Alex Tsuruda was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, before Aaron Wong sent the ball over the right field fence giving Chapman a 2-0 lead.
Redlands was fast to respond in the top of the second as Kyle Kabeary halved the deficit with a solo home run to left field before the Bulldogs took a 4-2 lead in the top the third inning.
After Brendan Gardiner scored on a miscue by the Chapman defense, Jordan Babbitt singled in another run, and Kabeary drew a bases-loaded RBI walk. The Panthers avoided further damage as a double play on a foul out ended the stanza.
In the bottom of the third, Chapman placed a pair of runners in scoring position and Jared Love delivered a two-run single up the middle to knot the game at 4-4.
The back-and-forth contest continued into the fourth when the Bulldogs regained a one-run lead when Rainier Aguilar grounded out allowing Will Hall to score on the play.
The bottom of the fifth frame saw the Panthers retake the lead - this time for good - when Tsuruda lifted a two-run homer to left field to give Chapman a 6-5 edge.
Redlands twice had runners advance as far as third base over the final four innings, but Panthers' reliever Christian Cosby, who entered in the fifth and tossed five scoreless innings, was able to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard as Chapman was able to hold for a hard-fought win. Cosby earned the win on the hill and struck out five.
Wong was 3-for-4 at the dish, while Tsuruda added two hits in the win for Chapman.
Babbitt led Redlands with three hits, while Hall and Kabeary added two hits each.