Fairbanks, AK – Following Tuesday’s 13-0 opening night shutout of the San Diego Waves, the Orange County Riptide fell to the Alaska Goldpanners 3-1 in their home opener at Growden Park. The Goldpanners utilized an 8th inning rally to score all three of their runs and dropped the Riptide to 1-1 in the early going of the 2021 summer ball season.
Thursday’s game was the first of a six-game road trip in Alaska which includes a three-game series vs. the Goldpanners and then a four-team round robin tournament that features the Goldpanners, Riptide, Waves and Bercovich Collegiate.
In game one of the Alaska trip, head coach Mitch LeVier’s squad had the pitching working again like it was vs. the San Diego Waves, but no so much the offense as the Goldpanners stole game one of a three-game series 3-1.
Action began in the first inning when Eric Bigani singled home Spencer Serven with two outs to give Riptide starting pitcher Anthony Robie an early lead to work with. UT-Rio Grande Valley’s Serven led off the game with a double to get into scoring position for UNLV’s Bigani.
Robie worked four scoreless innings in his first start of the summer and got 10 of the 13 men he faced out with four coming via strikeouts. Pepperdine’s Josiah Castillo took his place to toss the fifth inning and struck out the first two men he faced to keep the Goldpanners at bay heading into the back half of the ballgame.
Meanwhile, the Riptide offense couldn’t find much of a rhythm going with hits and walks scattered across the early innings as the 1-0 lead stayed intact heading into the sixth frame. At that point, Bigani and Serven were the only Riptide players to record hits.
The Goldpanner’s pitching duo of starter German Fajardo and California native Ian Torpey gave up six hits, one run and struck out eight. The ‘Panners duo pitched to contact effectively as well with the Riptide lining or flying out eleven times over their nine combined innings of work.
In the bottom of the eighth, 6′ 5’ right-hander Jake McBride came in as the fifth Riptide hurler of the evening. He allowed a lead-off double to threaten the one-run lead. McBride struck out the next two men he faced before Ryan Pierce hit a two-run home run to take a 2-1 lead in favor of the Goldpanners. Their lead grew to two runs shortly there after thanks to a walk, single and a balk.
Bigani had his third hit of the night to lead off the top of the ninth and was pinch ran for by Georgia’s Dwight Allen. Allen Reached second base on a ground out and then stole third. Torpey was able to get two more strikeouts to hand the Riptide their first loss of the 2021 summer ball season.
The Riptide (1-1) get back to action on Friday from Alaska against the Goldpanners for game two of the three-game set. Game time scheduled for 8 p.m. PST from Growden Park.
The Riptide will play a total of six games in Alaska before returning to the Great Park on June 17th.
OC Riptide vs. Alaska Goldpanners June 10, 2021 – Box Score