Week 5 Recap: Saints Collect a WinBy Arroyo Seco Saints July 10, 2023 10:47am
Week Five commenced for the Saints after the holiday break with a game against the Conejo Oaks on Wednesday July 5th.
Peyton Cariaco (Kent State) started on the mound for the Saints. He struck out three in the first inning alone, and a total of six over the five innings he pitched.
The Saints kept the Oaks scoreless through the second as well. Second baseman Jordan Rogers (Wichita State), a returning Saints player who made his first appearance of the season this week, had an impressive putout from middle infield that inning.
The Oaks got on the board in the third inning with a two-run double. The Saints put the tying run on first during their half of the inning, but didn’t manage to score until the 5th. Julian Alvarez (Cal Baptist) doubled and stole third, and was brought in to score by Raider Tello (Iowa).
The Oaks extended their lead in the 7th with a three-run in the park home run, but the Saints put three of their own on the board in their half of the inning.
After two back-to-back walks, Tello hit a chopping ground ball that skimmed over the shortstop’s glove to score Alvarez for the second time. Connor Bradshaw (Pepperdine), also in his first appearance of the season, scored on a pass ball. Jack Hammond (Long Beach State) brought in the third run of the inning, making it a one-run ball game.
The Saints hoped their momentum from the 7th would carry into the last two innings, but to not avail. Despite the come-from-behind win in their last game against the Oaks, the Saints were unable to catch up this time.
The Saints were up in Thousand Oaks for the second game against the Oaks. It started in a similar fashion to Wednesday’s game, with Conejo jumping out to an early lead. They scored their first run in the first and another two in the third.
The Saints were unable to score for the first half of the game, leaving four runners on base in the first five innings, and another three left stranded in the 6th alone. However, they did manage to get a run across that at-bat thanks to Mason Hammonds’ (Tarleton State) RBI single.
The Saints were still trailing by two until the 9th, where they certainly earned Max Blessinger’s (Belmont) nickname for the team, the “Cardiac Saints.” Richie Morales (Arizona) singled and later scored on Blessinger’s base hit, making it a one run ball game with no outs. Blessinger roped another single to score the first run of the inning, followed by Bradshaw hitting a sacrifice fly to bring in the tying run. The Oaks were unable to post a run of their own in the bottom of the 9th, and the game headed into extra innings.
The top of the 10th started with a runner on 2nd per the International Tiebreaker (ITB) rule. The ejection of the Saints’ first base coach and a member of the dugout in the inning prior didn’t slow their momentum. Morales took first after being hit by a pitch just in time for Preston Godfrey’s (New Mexico State) base-clearing double to take the lead. Bradshaw’s second hit of the night was this inning’s second two-run double. He then scored on Rogers’ sacrifice fly out, extending the lead to five.
The Oaks only scored one in their half of the 10th and gave up the sweep.
Friday night was the series opener against the Orange County Riptide. Though looking to build upon the momentum from their win the day before, the Saints fell to an early deficit and were unable to come back.
Carter Herrera (Cal State San Bernardino) was on the mound for the Saints. He retired the first two batters, but an error from the centerfielder extended the inning and eventually allowed the Riptide to score an unearned run.
Orange County had Herrera figured out early on. In the third inning, a pair of home runs extended their lead to 4-0. It took another two innings before the Saints found the scoreboard.
Richie Morales started the inning with a single, later making his way around the bases and scoring on a fielder’s choice. Morales has been reliable at shortstop this season, but has recently proven himself to be a consistent batter as well. Just last week, he went 4-for-4 against Santa Barbara and brought in two runs for the Saints. Rogers followed up with a triple before scoring the second run of the inning on a balk.
Arroyo Seco trailed 7-2 in the seventh inning. Fans were hoping for another late-game comeback after the Saints loaded the bases and Bradshaw was able to bring in the third run on a single. They scored again on a wild pitch during the next at-bat, and remained with only one out and two runners in scoring position. The Riptide, however, were able to hold off the Saints lineup that inning and for the remainder of the game, while adding a few more runs to their lead.
The Saints made their way 60 miles south for game two, and were looking to comeback from the previous night’s 10-4 loss.
The bats were quiet for the first three innings, though a Riptide fan who could only be described as loudly enthusiastic kept the stands entertained in the meantime.
Caleb Reyes (Cal Poly Pomona) started out on the mound for the Saints. In five innings pitched, he only allowed two hits, no runs, and struck out six batters.
Tello put the Saints in the hit column first with a single in the 4th. Bradshaw had the second single of the night the next inning, though he was unable to score as well. Rogers roped a triple in the 9th — the third and final hit of the night — but was also unable to cross the plate.
The Riptide managed to put two on in the 5th, but were held back from scoring by Morales’ double play. Jacob Henderson (Iowa) took over for Reyes in the following inning. Now with 7 innings pitched this season, the reliever is still yet to allow a hit.
Orange County banked another hit in the 8th, but were still unable to score after eight innings. The game looked poised to go into extra innings after the Saints were also unable to cross the plate in the 9th.
The Riptide started the bottom half with a double into left-field, followed by a walk. Head coach Aaron Milam decided to intentionally walk the third batter, thus loading the bases with no outs. A single over the shortstop’s head scored the first and last run of the game.
The Saints returned to Pasadena for the final game of the series. It was a high scoring matchup early on, unlike the previous evening.
The Riptide found the board first, scoring five in the second inning. The Saints came within one run of Orange County in their half of the inning. Morales took first on a base hit, then crossed the diamond on a single wild pitch. He scored on another pass ball. Blessinger got on with a single, then scored on Bradshaw’s single. Alvarez scored the third run on an error from the shortstop, and Bradshaw came around the bases as well on another overthrow.
The Riptide extended the lead by three in the 3rd. In the second half of the inning, two back to back doubles put a pair of Saints’ in scoring position. Bradshaw’s second RBI of the night scored the Saints’ 5th run.
Arroyo Seco came within one run of the lead again in the 4th after Chase Meggers (Oregon) and Blessinger each brought a run in. In the 7th, they finally tied it up. Alvarez doubled and scored on yet another RBI from Bradshaw.
The Riptide retook the lead in the top of the 8th. For the fourth game in a row against Orange County, the Saints fell short by one run.
The Saints return on Tuesday to play the Philippine National Collegiate Team. Tune in at 6:05 p.m PST on our Youtube Channel to watch.
- Saints Reporter Sydney Barragan (New York University)
- Saints Photographer Sonny Tapia (Cal State Long Beach)