Compton, Calif. — The Orange County Riptide’s 9-3 start in California Collegiate League play this season has guided the club to 1st place with a 1.5 lead over the Santa Barbara Foresters.
After the lineup only mustered three hits and the pitching staff gave up 12 hits against the Academy Barons on Friday, the Riptide completely flipped the script the following day throwing their second no hitter in franchise history.
Most of the coaches noticed the no hitter early, including pitching coach Bryan Evans who noticed in the 3rd inning after Jack Kirrer (Cal) shut down the Barons’ lineup the first time through their batting order.
Head coach Connor Spencer noticed in the 5th inning, but was more concerned with trying to put a run on the board for the Riptide as it was a 0-0 game going into the top of the 8th inning when they eventually scored one run and scored five in the 9th.
Kirrer, Nick Wallerstedt (Long Beach State), Trevor Ernt (San Jose State), Ryan Hernandez (Cal Baptist) and Gray Thomas (Oklahoma) combined for eight strikeout while completing the no hitter.
They escaped some trouble by getting out of tough situations, especially where the bases were loaded for the Barons in the 6th.
“This no hitter has been a great representation because this team has been able to pitch really well to start the season,” said Moe Geoghegan, founder and General Manager of the Riptide. “We have a lot of pitching depth and it’s been pleasant surprise to start the season.”
Both of the Riptide’s no hitters have been on the road which came as a surprise to Geoghegan because Championship Stadium at the Irvine Great Park is known as one of the more pitcher friendly ballparks in the CCL.
The Riptide’s pitching staff boasts a team ERA of 3.30, the second best in the CCL South. The no hitter is a testament to how hard the pitchers have been working so far this summer with Evans, who’s in his first year of coaching for the Riptide.
“Early on in the season, we were walking guys at double digits per game,” Evans said. “After the first week I talked to everyone and said, ‘The only thing I want you guys to think about this summer is to have the first two out of three pitches to every batter to be strikes.’”
After Evans’ conversation with the pitchers, they’ve improved drastically in that aspect. Over the last week, the Riptide pitchers have started off 85% of opposing batters with two strikes in three pitches according to Evans.
Evans is also really enjoying the walks being cut down and that opposing batters are putting the ball in play earlier in at-bats, which means the Riptide pitchers have been able to go deeper into games.
This dominant pitching staff looks to keep rolling as the Riptide try to extend their lead over second place Santa Barbara Foresters in a two game series and a three game series against the Conejo Oaks.