Watson Goes Distance, Tigers Win Redlands Series

More news about: Occidental
By Tim O'Donnell
Sports Information

LOS ANGELES — On a day with significant implications for the SCIAC standings, the Occidental baseball program put on a dominant performance against Redlands at Anderson Field. The Tigers took Game 1 of the doubleheader 13-3 and rallied behind starter Nolan Watson for a 5-0 Game 2 victory to secure the series win. Both the Tigers and the Bulldogs are battling (along with La Verne) for the fourth playoff spot in the SCIAC.

Game 1: Occidental 13, Redlands 3

The Tigers broke out with a big second inning in Game 1, exploding for five runs. The Bulldogs then threatened in the top of the third, but Tigers starter Mitch Margolis worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam and the Tigers never looked back. The game ended on a Van Fudge single to put the Tigers up 13-3, putting the 10-run Rule into effect in the bottom of the seventh.

Defense plagued the Bulldogs all day. Their pitching staff surrendered six unearned runs thanks in large part to six errors. The Tigers scored their 13 runs on just 11 hits.

For the Tigers, Margolis, who ran into some trouble early, settled down and finished with three runs off seven hits and five strikeouts in seven innings to continue his impressive season.

A home run battle ensued in the first inning. Bulldog catcher Sean McMillan hit a two-run shot off Margolis to put the Bulldogs ahead in the top half of the frame. But Occidental first baseman Johnathan Brooks responded with a leadoff solo homer to cut the lead in half.

Brooks finished a triple shy of the cycle and picked up three hits and three RBIs in the process.

Third baseman A.J. Libunao finished 2 for 4 and provided strong defense all day at the hot corner.

Fudge, the designated hitter, plated three runners on two hits.

Game 2: Occidental 5, Redlands 0

The Tigers offense did not have too much to do in Game 2. Watson, a freshman, has shown flashes of brilliance since cracking the starting rotation earlier this season, but he put it all together against the Bulldogs. He threw a complete game, allowing just three hits and striking out eight while walking none. The Bulldogs never truly threatened to score. He threw exactly 100 pitchers, finding the strike zone on 74 of them.

The Tigers used some small ball to back their pitcher, scoring on two squeeze plays from center fielder Alec Strain and catcher Charlie Caccamo in the second and fourth innings, respectively.

Redlands starter, Michael Collins, battled Watson on the mound, picking up the complete game loss. He allowed six hits in eight innings, but gave up five runs (three earned). Redlands played better defense in the second game, committing two errors, but both misplays were costly.

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