Irvine, Calif. – The Riptide (16-13) have gone 3-2 over their last five games following a 5-2 loss to the Conejo Oaks on Sunday evening. It was the third meeting between the teams this summer and Orange County is now 2-1 against the Oaks after July 6 and 16 victories and Sunday’s loss.
Emilio Rosas (USC) and Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) led the quiet Riptide offense by going 3-for-6 combined with two walks and an RBI. They were two of only three Riptide players to not strike out in the loss.
Blake Penso (UC Irvine) continued to show off his power and began the evening’s action on a first-inning RBI double that one-hopped the left-center field wall to score Spencer Serven (UTRGV) and give the Riptide a quick 1-0 lead. Penso has gotten off to a fast start in his first two games with Orange County with three hits in eight at-bats and two of those being extra-base hits.
But Conejo tied it back up in the top of the third with a one-out single off of Mikal Ashley (Johnson County CC) and followed that up with a sac fly that scored the Oaks‘ second run to take a 2-1 lead going into the middle innings. They tallied on a third run an inning later to make it a 3-1 lead with their starting pitcher Cody Adcock (Ole Miss) still rolling through four innings pitched.
Ashley would exit after tossing 4.1 innings and giving up three hits and two earned runs. Shawn Hepler (Xavier) took over for his dozenth appearance of the summer and was able to strand men on second and third with a couple of ground-outs.
That allowed the Riptide offense to get into a rhythm at the plate and work the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. But the Oaks’ bullpen turned a corner and punched out the next three straight Riptide batters to strand all three baserunners and maintain their two-run lead going into the sixth.
Conejo’s offense returned to score a pair before the stretch thanks to a passed ball and a subsequent run-scoring single that both came with two outs in the inning.
With time running out for head coach Mitch LeVier’s offense to get going, Emilio Rosas (USC) helped cut the Oaks‘ lead back to three with an opposite-field double in the bottom of the eighth. His extra-base hit brought home Reed Spenrath (TCU), who led off the inning with a base hit.
No more Riptide runs were scored though as 5-2 was the final score with Conejo getting the win.
Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) said that he saw the ball well on Sunday night and that the team is looking forward to an off-day on Monday to rest and get refocused.
“I was just seeing the ball well, trusting my hands, and competing during every pitch,” said Diaz. “Just got to get some rest, we’ve had a long week and we’ve just gotta keep competing.”
Orange County (16-13) will try to find some momentum as visitors with six of their next seven games coming on the road starting Tuesday night in San Luis Obispo. The Riptide will try to avenge their July 17 loss to the Blues before returning home Wednesday night against Conejo for the fourth matchup between the teams this year.
Over July 22-27 the team will play five consecutive road games before wrapping up July and the regular season with three of their final four at OC Great Park. Wednesday night’s first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m against the Oaks and can also be live-streamed on the OC Riptide Youtube Channel.
OC Riptide vs. Conejo Oaks July 18, 2021 – Box Score