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TIGERS SWEEP WEEKEND SERIES WITH REDLANDS

By Sean Lee
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LOS ANGELES — One day after beating Redlands for the first time since 2010, the Occidental College baseball team upped the ante on Saturday winning two more games against the Bulldogs at Anderson Field to complete the series sweep.

The Tigers are now 3-0 in SCIAC play.

Game 1: Occidental 3, Redlands 2

Box Score

Scott Hong (Los Angeles) gave the Occidental Tigers its first lead. Then he gave it up. And then he scored the walk-off run in the bottom of the 10th to lift Oxy to victory against Redlands, 3-2 in the first game of the afternoon doubleheader at Anderson Field.

The do-it-all outfielder for the Tigers was in the thick of the action all game.

Hong led off the bottom of the second with an opposite field homerun to deep right to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. Redlands' Trenton Lively answered with a homer of his own in the fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1.

It looked as if the Tigers would rally right back in their half of the inning. With one out, Pedro Aldape (Sherman Oaks) smacked a stinging line drive to the left field for a double. Hong followed with a single to the right and an error by Marcus Himelhoch put both runners in scoring position. However, Oxy was unable to capitalize.

In the Oxy sixth, Aldape and Hong again had consecutive hits with one out to put themselves on second and first, respectively. Jonathan Brooks (Huntington Beach) reached first on a fielder's choice that put Hong away, but Aldape advanced to third. Victor Munoz (La Verne) promptly singled to left to score Aldape give a 2-1 lead for Oxy.

On the mound, freshman starter Joseph Kling (Kirkland, Mo.) delivered a masterful performance. Through eight innings, Kling allowed only one hit -- the homer to Lively in the fourth -- and struck out seven.

With a 2-1 lead heading into the 9th, Oxy coach Luke Wetmore elected to go with Hong to close out the game. However, it turned out to be a rocky outing for Hong on the mound. A single, wild pitch, and a double through the left side tied the game at 2-2 at the end of the ninth.

Hong was determined to redeem himself.

With two outs in the bottom of the tenth, Hong hustled to reach first safely on a throwing error. With Riley Smith (Bellevue, Wash.) up to bat, Hong stole second.

Smith then hit liner to third that was too hot to handle for Bulldog third baseman Ben Saunders. The ball never left the infield, but somehow, some way, Hong managed to round third base and hustled home for a walk-off run.

Game 2: Occidental 7, Redlands 6

Box Score

The Tigers fell behind early, but rode a dominant relief pitching performance by Matt Malott (San Diego) to edge out Redlands, 7-6 to sweep the weekend series.

Oxy starter Harry Keyte (New York) never got into a rhythm as he allowed five runs in two-plus innings. Occidental coach Luke Wetmore turned to Malott to steady the ship, and Malott responded.

In 6 1/3 innings, Malott scattered three hits, allowed one run, and fanned seven to give Oxy hitters a chance to come back from an early deficit.

In the bottom of the fifth, down 5-0, the Oxy bats woke up. A Redlands error and two singles loaded the bases with one out.

Scott Hong came through once again for Occidental, smacking a single to center, which cleared the bases with an aid from another Redlands error. Hong then stole third, followed by a Pedro Aldape walk. Brent Wunner (Temple City) and Victor Munoz followed with consecutive singles, tying the game at 5-5.

Trenton Lively responded right away for Redlands in the sixth inning with a solo shot to deep right to put the Bulldogs on top. But Malott retired nine following Bulldogs in a row to shut down Redlands for the afternoon.

In the bottom of the eighth, Munoz led off with a single and advanced to third on a balk and a wild pitch. In following at bats, AJ Libunao (Huntington Beach) walked and Kevin Ozaki (Los Angeles) singled on a drag bunt to plate Munoz. The Tigers added another run later in the inning on a Riley Smith sacrifice fly.

In the ninth inning, Coach Wetmore tapped Hong again to close out the game and this time, Hong finished the business. Moving to the mound after Malott struck out the leadoff batter Lively, Hong popped out two straight batters to preserve the 7-6 win for Oxy.

Hong finished the day with 3 RBI and 3 runs on 5 of 10 hitting. He added a save-- his third of the season-- on the mound.

The Tigers return to action against the University of La Verne on Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. at Anderson Field.