San Luis Obispo, Calif. – In Tuesday’s contest against the San Luis Obispo Blues, the Orange County Riptide defeated the Blues in a pitcher’s duel and put them in a three game win streak. Tonight’s win ensures that the Riptide will accomplish a winning season as there are few too many games that would allow them to drop below a .500 winning percentage. The Riptide are now 4-2 against San Luis Obispo and 21-15 overall this summer.
University of Tennessee right-handed pitcher Charez Butcher got his second start of the summer where he allowed two runs on three hits. He struck out six of the 21 Blues hitters he faced through the 4.2 innings of work he produced.
After a scoreless first two innings of the game, Orange County was the first to put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the third inning. Once two Riptide reached base, UNLV product Austin Kryszczuk was able to record an RBI single to score lead-off hitter T.C. Simmons (UConn). USC infielder Clay Owens continued the offensive production with an RBI single of his own to give the Riptide an early 2-0 lead.
San Luis Obispo responded to Orange County’s run production by scoring two of their own to tie the game in the fifth inning. After three consecutive singles from the Blues offense, they were able to score their first run of the game against Butcher. A sacrifice fly from the Blues tied the game which resulted in a pitching change for the Riptide. Andrew Pogue (Illinois) came into relieve Butcher and commanded a strikeout for the final out in the fifth inning.
Once the Riptide scored their runs in the third inning, they were unable to score until four innings had passed. Dartmouth outfielder Kolton Freeman started the inning off with a single, which was followed up by a single from Kryszczuk, his third hit of the night. The Blues were able to get the next two Riptide hitters out, but these putouts allowed for the runners on base to advance and resulted in Freeman scoring.
Pogue’s performance came to an end after he pitched through the seventh inning, where he allowed no runs on two hits through the 2.1 innings he threw. He struck out four of the nine Blues he faced. Hayden Merda, a sophomore at Azusa Pacific University, made his debut as a Riptide once he came into close the game Pogue in the eighth and ninth inning. In the two innings he pitched, Merda was lights out as he struck out three Blues, allowed zero hits, and zero runs.
Orange County will return to their home field of the Orange County Great Park on Wednesday, July 28th against the Santa Barbara Foresters at 6:00 PM PDT.
OC Riptide vs. San Luis Obispo Blues – Box Score