Irvine, CA – The Orange County Riptide defeated the Walnut Creek Crawdads Friday night with a clutch walk-off single off the bat of Eric Bigani (UNLV) to score Terrence Simmons (UConn) from third in the ninth inning. The Simmons’ score gave the Riptide the 6-5 victory over the Crawdads, running the Riptide’s win streak to five consecutive games.
Andrew Pogue (University of Illinois) started on the mound for the Riptide Friday night. The Crawdads offense came out swinging and drove in five runs to start the game. Pogue limited the damage by recording a strikeout to end the inning, leaving three Crawdads stranded on base.
The Riptide would answer back when Dwight Allen (University of Georgia) walked on his first trip to the plate and became a thief on the bases. Shortly after stealing third, Allen scored off a passed ball through the catcher during Reed Spenrath’s (TCU) plate appearance. Allen’s run scored would cut the Crawdad’s lead but the Riptide left three runners of their own on base after Tank Espalin (Indiana) struck out swinging to end the thread.
In the bottom of the third inning, Jack-Thomas Wold (UNLV) reached base safely with a single to right field recording the first hit of the game for the Riptide. Reed Spenrath (TCU) advanced Wold to third with line-drive single to right field.
The base hit from Cole Robinson (Missouri State University) scored Wold from third and Spenrath scored on another passed ball. The Riptide trailed 3-5 to start the fourth inning.
Shawn Hepler (Xavier University) took the mound to start the fourth and closed out the side quickly to get the offense back up to the plate again. Kolton Freeman (Dartmouth) got the first hit of the inning with a single to left field.
Allen advanced Freeman to third base safely with a single to right field and promptly stole second. Wold scored Freeman and advanced Allen on an infield ground out. Allen scored again on another passed ball to tie the game 5-5 heading to the fifth inning.
Hepler pitched two more innings before Derek Shaver (Wichita State University) relieved him in the top of the seventh inning. Hepler finished with three innings pitched giving up three hits, no walks, no runs and struck out three Crawdads. Shaver recorded two strikeouts of his own before giving way to Nikelle Galatas (Jackson State) start the eighth inning. Galatas overpowered the Crawdads recording five strikeouts in two innings of work to lead the Riptide in Ks for the game. Galatas struck out two consecutive batters to end the top of the ninth inning with bases loaded.
Tied 5-5 to start the bottom of the ninth, Cody Dreis (Washington State) took one for the team getting hit by a pitch. Head Coach Mitch LeVier had Terrence Simmons (UConn) pinch-run for Dreis. Freeman doubled with no outs, pushing Simmons to third. The Crawdad’s chose to intentionally walk Allen to face Jack-Thomas Wold with the bases loaded. Despite Wold batting nearly .400 since joining the Riptide, the gamble paid off as the Crawdad’s Gabe Tanner got Wold to strike out swinging.
With the bases loaded and one out, Eric Bigani (UNLV) delivered the decisive RBI, driving a line-drive to the left-center field gap to bring in Simmons to win the game. The Riptide players poured out of the third base dugout in a jubilant celebration before Simmons touched home plate. After the Simmons score.
The Riptide’s scheduled game with the Inland Valley Bucs on Saturday has been canceled giving the players a much needed three day rest before opening up CCL South Division play. The Riptide returns to the Great Park in Irvine on June 22 at 6:00 P.M. to take on the Arroyo Seco Saints.
OC Riptide vs. Walnut Creek Crawdads June 18, 2021 – Box Score.