By Taylor Jennings
The Foresters fell for the second consecutive day to the Orange County Riptide Thursday evening as the Foresters failed to produce any offensive fireworks on the Fourth of July.
In front of an engaged and energetic Independence Day crowd, the ’Sters managed to collect just four hits and were shut out for the first time all season. A glimmer of hope emerged in the bottom of the ninth when the Foresters loaded the bases with two outs for pinch hitter Quentin Selma, but the Cal Berkeley first baseman went down swinging to end the ballgame
Ryan Bergert got the start for the ’Sters and pitched four effective, two-hit innings. Unfortunately for the West Virginia Mountaineer, aggressive Riptide baserunning and shaky Foresters defense resulted in two runs and a loss in the line score
Two Santa Barbara errors, a dropped third strike, and a timely Riptide double steal accounted for a pair of Orange County runs in the top of the third. Blake Evans ripped a one-out double to ignite the rally, and the Riptide managed to do the rest of their damage in the frame without recording another hit.
Santa Barbara appeared to mount a response in the Finney’s Restaurant Fifth thanks to a Zach Presno walk and Tevin Tucker hit-by-pitch. Unfortunately, with the Foresters faithful cheering for pizza, Riptide reliever Chase Lyford retired Ryan Cash swinging and got the dangerous Eric Kennedy to ground out to second to end the threat.
A Carson Matthews RBI single to left plated Chris Aube in the top of the seventh to extend the Orange County lead. It was the first hit of the summer surrendered by Foresters reliever Brad Demco, who came in to pick up from Conner Woods with Aube on first. The ’Sters southpaw has still yet to allow a run in his twelve sparkling appearances.
Santa Barbara appeared destined to achieve late-inning magic in the ninth when Dru Baker, Zach Presno, and Ross Cadena reached with two outs to load the bases. That was it for the rally, though, as Tanner King entered to slam the door with a strikeout of Selma.
Kennedy and Baker each collected a pair of knocks to account for the four Foresters hits. Brock Helverson and Nico O’Donnell also looked sharp in their relief appearances
Santa Barbara will be back at home Friday to take on the Academy Barons at Pershing Park. First pitch is set for 6:00 pm with all of the action covered by AM 1290.