Compton, Calif. – Although putting the ball into play did not seem to be a problem for the Orange County Riptide offense who had 13 hits, bringing runners home became a challenge for them in their 8-6 loss against the MLB Academy Barons on Sunday.
“Right now I just feel like we are missing timely hits, and our pitchers are battling for us,” Designated Hitter Nathan Smith (Tennessee) said. “We’ve had a long road streak, and we’ve had like five games this week so fatigue is setting in.”
Smith was 4-for-5 in the box against the Barons, putting together four base hits, one of which earned him an RBI. Before this game, Smith had a .188 batting average which has improved to a .270 average following these five plate appearances.
“Today I did something a little different. I feel like I’ve been trying too hard and chasing hits too much,” Smith said. “Today I just went with a little more carefree attitude, thinking about having fun, and letting the swing do what it does. Today was more of a chill day and I got rewarded.”
Blake Penso (UC Irvine) started the scoring off for the Riptide as he yanked a ball down the third base line for an RBI double in the top of the third inning, driving in Miller Ladusau (Abilene Christian).
Shane Taylor (Utah Tech) recorded his second home run in two games in the top of the fourth inning, tying the game 3-3. Unfortunately, the Barons answered back in the bottom half of the inning and regained the lead.
Down 8-4 to start the eighth inning, the Riptide offense was able to bring two runners home to put pressure on the Barons, but were not able to defeat them.
The Barons saw four arms from the Riptide pitching staff, the first being left-handed pitcher Reed Schaefer (Arizona), who allowed three runs off three hits through three innings. Out from the pen came Luke Higgins (Golden West), who had the loss fall onto his record. A damaging two-run home run from the Barons center fielder Julian Boyd set the Riptide behind.
The game continued to get away from the Riptide as Josh Haley (Long Beach State) saw two more Barons cross home plate while out on the mound. Carson Case (Nevada) entered in the seventh to retire the side, then walked two batters. Despite the two base on balls, no runs were scored, ending the game with the Barons on top 8-6.
“We have a much needed rest day tomorrow, Smith said. “We will reset for Tuesday.”
The Riptide will return to the Great Park in Irvine on Tuesday to take on the San Luis Obispo Blues starting at 6:35 p.m. (Box Score)