Ramirez, Rallies Hook Catch With Humbling Loss

By: Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Director

Thousand Oaks, Calif. -- In the final regular season road game of the Catch season, So. Cal was left stunned by Conejo as they were defeated in an 18-1 blowout Thursday afternoon. Rafael Ramirez mowed through the Catch lineup, only allowing four hits in his six innings of one-run ball as the Oaks backed him with runs in six of the first seven innings.

So Cal. Starter Adam Paulsen (Lewis and Clark State) found himself in trouble early as leadoff hitter, Dustyn Cook found his way aboard on an fielding error on Austin Yeoman (San Diego Christian). Cook advanced to second on a groundout featuring a diving play by Cooper Esmay (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), then stole third and came home on an errant throw into left by catcher Cameron Miller (Baylor University). Zach Gibbons later scored in the inning, driven in on Chad Spanberger’s bloop single into left-center. Kyle Sanchez later knocked a two out single, plating Spanberger for the third run of the inning.

Just like the first inning, the Catch was retired in order in the second. And then the third. Meanwhile, Conejo more than doubled up on their lead in inning three. A double, single, and HBP loaded the bases for Sanchez who drove in another run with a sac fly to left. Two pitches later, Thomas Rowan broke the game wide open with a home run to left-center pushing the score to 7-0.

After the Oaks pushed run across in the fourth, So. Cal. finally mustered some offense. The Catch found themselves with runners at the corners and two outs when Cole Taylor (University of Utah) made his way to the plate. Cole ripped an RBI single driving in Josh Rojas (University of Hawaii) from third and tacked the first Catch run to the board.

With the score 8-1, Conejo continued their onslaught against Billy Kirkpatrick (William Jewell). Three straight hits plated the ninth run for the home team and one out later, Kirkpatrick was replaced by Michael Shaw (Azusa Pacific University). Shaw induced a groundout against his first batter faced, which happened to drive in a baserunner, but limited the Oaks to the pair of runs in the inning.

Shaw struggled the following inning however, and within a series of five straight batters reaching base safely, three more runs came across the plate to inflate the lead to 13-1.

Tyler Harris (Miami University, OH) took over in the bottom of the seventh, but faced six batters before he recorded a single out. The Oaks batted around in the inning, adding five more to their score of 13.

The Catch had little answer for the Oaks, and besides a walk and single in the last two innings, were retired without a much of a fight. With the 18-1 victory, Conejo punched their playoff ticket, securing a spot in the San Luis Obispo finals.

Luckily for the Catch, their playoff hopes remain alive as the Santa Barbara Foresters prevailed victorious over LA Brewers by a final score of 9-6. So. Cal. currently sits three games out of first in the Southern Division with five league games remaining. Their elimination number sits at four.