Kyle Booker

Blues Walk-Off Orange County After Riptide Overcome 5-0 Deficit

San Luis Obispo, Calif. – Through 22 games of the Orange County Riptide’s 2021 summer season, they sport a 13-9 record after falling victim to a walk-off 6-5 victory by the San Luis Obispo Blues at Sinsheimer Stadium on Thursday night. The Riptide overcame an early 5-0 deficit to score six unanswered runs before the Blues scored two on a double to walk it off in the ninth.

Offensively for Orange County, Eric Bigani (UNLV) led the way with a 2-for-5 outing with the game-tying RBI. Emilio Rosas (USC) also had two hits and two RBIs along with Kyle Booker (Tennessee) getting a pair of knocks as the nine-hole hitter.

The Blues broke out in their half of the second with five runs coming on two base hits that each scored one run and a three-run home run that came with two outs off of the Riptide starter Spencer Edwards (Cornell). San Luis Obispo starting pitcher Matthew Sox (Utah) kept the Riptide’s hitters off-rhythm early on, going the first 3.2 innings scoreless.

Nikelle Galatas took over on the mound for the Riptide starting in the third and more effectively silenced the Blues‘ bats. The Jackson St. hurler faced an even 20 batters in his 5 scoreless IP and allowed five hits while punching out four.

Eric Bigani (#55 UNLV) went 2-5 with the game-tying RBI in Friday night’s loss. (Photo Credit: Emily Sullivan)

Orange County got back one in the top of the fourth off of Sox for its first run of the night thanks to a Tank Espalin RBI single. The offense picked things back up shortly after with three runs that trimmed the Blues lead to one. A passed ball allowed Reed Spenrath (TCU) to score the first run followed by a Rosas (USC) single to bring home two as the score read 5-4 entering the late innings.

Bigani (UNLV) had a clutch hit in the seventh when he drove home Booker (Tennessee) with two outs to even up the score at five. A Blues error on the next at-bat allowed Kolton Freeman (Dartmouth) to come home from third as the go-ahead run. The Blues had four errors in total Thursday night.

San Luis Obispo had one more chance in the bottom of the ninth off of Riptide reliever Shawn Hepler (Xavier) and did so after Justin Trimble pinch-hit with two outs and scored two on a walk-off double to win 7-6.

The Riptide (13-9) will play at OC Great Park Friday against the MLB Academy Barons in the teams’ third matchup this summer. Orange County hits the road for the next two days after, going to Santa Barbara and Compton to face the Foresters and the Barons once again.

OC Riptide vs. San Luis Obispo Blues July 8, 2021 – Box Score

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