Saints Fall to Riptide 3-2 in Defensive Battle

PASADENA, CA – The Arroyo Seco Saints dropped their second consecutive game to the Orange County Riptide Friday night at Jackie Robinson Memorial Field. In a back-and-forth ballgame, the Riptide were able to outlast the Saints in a 3-2 matchup. While the Saints struggled to get things going behind the plate at times, the team saw true promise from their middle relievers in this game.

Orange County’s starting pitching was challenging for the Saints to handle early, giving some fans flashbacks from Friday night’s matchup. However, when Riptide starting pitcher Jack Kirrer exited the game after three innings, the Saints’ batters took advantage. AJ Ortiz (Biola), one of the teams’ most consistent hitters this season, got on base in the fourth with a single to center field. After advancing into scoring position following a wild pitch, Saint’s catcher Alex Birge (Wichita State) delivered.

Trailing by a run in the fourth, Alex Birge’s rope down the first baseline brought in the tying run early. While catcher is not usually considered one of the speedier positions in baseball, Birge was focused on changing that narrative, legging out a stand-up triple.

“I was trying to show Kyte McDonald, my (Wichita State) teammate, how fast I am,” Birge said jokingly. “We’ve been going at it, and I had to make sure he knew I was still fast.”

Birge would keep his wheels rolling soon after, scoring on a wild pitch to give the Saints a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

The lead came at a great time for the team, as college teammates Calvin Bickerstaff and Peyton Cariaco were in complete command on the bump. The Kent State relief pitchers displayed a full arsenal of pitches tonight, making Riptide batters miserable. Bickerstaff, who entered the game in the third inning, allowed zero hits in two scoreless innings, striking out four batters in the process.

Cariaco entered the game in the fifth and held the team’s lead. The left-hander pitched a pair of scoreless innings as well. All six of the pitcher’s outs recorded came by way of strikeout, firing up the Saints dugout.

“We do that back at school too,” Bickerstaff said about feeding off each other’s energy. “We just try to back each other up the best we can.”

Unfortunately for the Saints, the Riptide were able to rally and take the lead late in this ballgame, 3-2. Much like the game Friday night, though, the Saints showed no sign of giving up.

Returning Saint Max Blessinger (Belmont), who moved up in the lineup for tonight’s ballgame, tallied his third hit of the night in the eighth. Blessinger’s single moved Julien Alvarez (Cal Baptist) into scoring position, giving the team some life in the eighth.
After the missed opportunity late, Saints’ reliever Matthew Holzhammer (Tarleton State) stepped in and kept the score set at 3-2. The Saints were down to their final three outs.

Alex Birge, the hero earlier in this ballgame, reached base after getting hit by a pitch. His college teammate, Kyte McDonald, then lined a ball into left field, moving the tying run into scoring position. Unfortunately for the Saints, second base was the furthest Birge would make it, as they were surrendered in the bottom of the ninth.

The Saints look to bounce back next week in hopes of picking up their first win in CCL league play. The Santa Barbara Foresters travel to Jackie Robinson Memorial Field Tuesday night, as the Saints will have home field advantage in this matchup. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. PST. Watch this matchup live on our Youtube Channel


  • Saints Reporter Bennett Snyder (Ohio University)
  • Saints Photographer Angie Martinez (Mount Saint Mary’s University)





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