Bullpen and Offense Fall Short in Defending Maloney’s Stellar Outing, Lose 4-3

Irvine, Calif. – After a successful trip up North, the Orange County Riptide (4-6 in California Collegiate League play) returned to the Orange County Great Park on Tuesday, where they fell to the San Luis Obispo Blues 4-3.

Starting pitcher Matthew Maloney (New Mexico State) was untouchable, striking out the first six Blues batters he faced. He maintained a perfect performance once through the order before allowing a hit off his cutter in the fourth inning.

“I was more focused on getting quick outs so the offense could get back out there. I felt good; it was just rolling,” Maloney said. “Tonight it was mostly the four-seam fastball, curveball, and changeup a little bit. I didn’t throw the cutter much, and when I did it didn’t really cut much, that’s why he took it up the middle.”

His outing came to an end after five innings, striking out a total of 10 batters, allowing three hits, no earned runs and a single base on balls.

The Riptide took advantage of a defensive error by the center fielder in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Dominic Souto (Cal) who reached on a single earlier that inning.

With the lead heading into the sixth inning, the Riptide turned to their utility man Zach Thomas (Utah Tech) to pitch in relief for Maloney. Thomas would go on to give up the tying run with two outs on the board in the bottom of the sixth.

Ethan Pope (Cal Baptist) took over on the mound for the Riptide in the seventh, where the Blues jumped ahead with a solo home run. Pope left the game in the ninth, who ultimately had the loss fall on his shoulders.

The Blues offense tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth with reliever Josh Haley (Long Beach State) in for the Riptide.

A late ninth inning rally gave the Riptide a glimpse of hope as Gavin Haimovitz (Santa Barbara City) drove in a runner with a sacrifice fly to center field and Brandon Burckel (Houston) reached home on a single by Santino Panaro (UNLV). With the walk-off stage set, Austin Kryszczuk (UNLV) popped up to second base to end the game one run short.

The Riptide are set to travel to San Luis Obispo to face the Blues at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. (Box Score)

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