Irvine, Calif. – After going 3-2 on their recent road trip, the Orange County Riptide lost 3-2 to the Santa Barbara Foresters in the first of four remaining regular-season games. The Riptide’s overall record now sits at 21-16 with a 13-14 conference record, good for fourth in the CCL South with the remaining three games coming against fellow division opponents.
Spencer Edwards (Cornell) was the star of Wednesday’s game with one of the best outings from a Riptide hurler this season as Gavin Haimovitz (Santa Barbara CC) and Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) led the offense with all four of the Orange County knocks.
Haimovitz began the Riptide scoring in the bottom half of the first with a double into right-center that brought home Diaz and Kolton Freeman (Dartmouth) to give the starter Edwards an early 2-0 lead over the Foresters. Haimovitz has only played six games with the Riptide but is hitting .458 with a .519 OBP and a 1.061 OPS.
The Cornell man Spencer Edwards, who came into his start on a 12-inning scoreless streak, was simply brilliant in his ninth appearance of the summer. The southpaw faced the minimum of 13 men through 4.1 innings before issuing a walk and did not allow any Foresters hits until the seventh inning.
Edwards‘ fastball was on point from the first pitch which allowed him to keep all of Santa Barbara off-balance for most of the evening. His command was impeccable as well, seemingly living the whole night in 1-1 or 1-2 counts by getting ahead of hitters early and being the aggressor in each at-bat with his heater.
While Edwards dominated on the mound for the Riptide, the Foresters starter Peyton Cole came back after the first inning to deliver the next five innings scoreless as Santa Barbara finally went to its bullpen in the bottom of the sixth. Cole sent the Riptide down in order 1-2-3 each inning after the first to pace Edwards.
Santa Barbara’s first time to threaten came in the seventh when they were able to get a hit off of Edwards and get that man around to third with two outs. He was the first Forester to reach scoring position in the game and was brought home on an infield single that cut the Orange County lead to 2-1.
Edwards exited afterward with Hayden Merda (Azuza Pacific) coming in to relieve him. Edwards‘ finished with a final line of 6.2 IP, 2H, 1ER, 2 BB, 8K in his best start of the season and said that his slider felt great along with his fastball.
“I was just attacking batters,” said Edwards. “Late in the game my slider was pretty effective and I also stayed on top of my fastball and stayed with my mechanics.”
But Merda would give up the tying run an inning later on an RBI double with no outs, and then another double brought home the go-ahead run to put Santa Barbara up 3-2 with more men waiting in scoring position.
Orange County wouldn’t be able to overcome Santa Barbara’s comeback and went quietly in the bottom of the eighth and ninth to lose 3-2.
The Riptide (21-16) play their second-to-last home game Friday night at 6 p.m. from OC Great Park against the second-place Arroyo Seco Saints before a road game in Thousand Oaks against Conejo. Orange County then matches up once again with the Foresters in the regular-season finale on August 1st before the 2021 CCL State Championship begins on the fourth.
OC Riptide vs. Santa Barbara Foresters July 28, 2021 – Box Score