LA VERNE, Calif. — Brent Backlund tossed eight innings of one-hit ball, Jakob Thomas hit the walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth and the University of La Verne baseball team defeated Redlands, 3-2, in the first game of a doubleheader at Ben Hines Field on Saturday.
Backlund was effectively wild, allowing five walks, but did not give the Bulldogs much to hit. He mixed in four strikes and charged with one run.
The Bulldogs scored two in the top of the ninth after trailing for eight innings to tie the game at 2-2, but the Leopards answered immediately.
Nicholas Michaels and Woody Reyes slapped back-to-back singles and Christopher Peres drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. Thomas promptly pushed a single to right field to give the Leopards a walk-off win.
Thomas finished 2-for-3 at the plate.
La Verne got on the board first as Ben White doubled in Peres in the bottom of the first and held the lead for much of the game behind a strong performance from Backlund.
The Leopards added a run in the seventh as Woody Reyes worked a bases-loaded walk to push across Andrew Douglas.
Backlund retired the side in order in the top of the eighth and looked poised to cruise to a complete game shutout.
But the senior gave up a leadoff walk to Christopher Scalisi in the top of the ninth and gave way to Nick Byrd and the Bulldogs jumped on the La Verne reliever. Scalisi advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on a single by Mark Tumlinson to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Leopards turned to Brett Early but he also walked his first batter to load the bases and Redlands tied the game on a catcher's interference.
Early (2-1) did retire the next to batters in order to picked up the win.
John Keane, who started the game at first base but moved over to relieve starter Michael Collins, was tagged with the loss.
La Verne lost a slugfest, 14-10, in the nightcap. The game was called after eight innings due to darkness.
The teams combined for 30 hits, used 10 pitchers and five hitters recorded at least three hits.
The Leopards fired the opening salvo in the bottom of the first with an RBI single by Thomas but the Bulldogs responded with three runs in the top of the second and went on to add eight more runs to take control of the game.
La Verne kept pace with three runs in the in the third and the fourth but a five-run fourth innning by Redlands saw the Bulldogs take a 11-4 lead and that proved too much to overcome.
The Leopards added four in the sixth and two in the eighth to get within 14-10 and had the top of the order due up in the ninth but the sun had set.
The Leopards are back in action on Wednesday at home against Eastern Mennonite.