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Riggio's second home run a 'game-ender' in Chatham's win over Falmouth

by Chris Blake, 07-27-2022

Riggio's second home run a 'game-ender' in Chatham's win over Falmouth

It only took Roc Riggio one trip to the plate to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, though he managed to do much more than that.

After fouling off two pitches in the top of the first, Riggio turned on Joshua Roberge’s 2-2 offering and sent it flying over the right field fence just inside the foul pole. When Riggio completed his trot around the bases and reached the plate, he tapped helmets with Marcus Brown, who started the at-bat at first base after lining a single to left field.

Four innings later, Riggio found himself with another RBI opportunity. Guy Garibay Jr. set the inning in motion, rolling a ground ball to first baseman Jacob Walsh. Walsh spun and threw to Garrett Coe, who left the mound to cover first base, but Garibay dove in before Coe could get his foot on the bag. Brown then poked a pop-up into shallow left field that sent shortstop Alex Mooney twisting backwards. Mooney couldn’t haul it in though, bringing Riggio to the plate with two runners on base.

“Before I went up, (manager Tom Holliday) asked me, ‘Do you wanna bunt here?’ And I was like, ‘Not really.’ And he was like, ‘Alright, go ahead,’” Riggio said.

The left-on-left matchup with Coe did nothing to slow the red-hot Riggio. On the second pitch he faced, Riggio crushed a three-run homer to right field. His two home runs and five RBIs led Chatham’s offense in the Anglers’ 6-0 win over Falmouth on Wednesday at Guv Fuller Field.

“The second home run Roc hit tonight, that was a game-ender,” Holliday said.

After Wednesday’s heroics, Riggio moved to 16 for 47 (.340) with 12 runs and 14 RBIs over his 12-game hitting streak.

“Over the stretch, I wanna say I’ve been going into the games with a clearer mind,” Riggio said. “Just going in and letting everything be and just forgetting everything outside of the field. Forget the performance. Forget everything. Go out there with a clear mind and just have fun.”

Riggio said the last time he felt this good at the plate was with Oklahoma State in the Stillwater Regional, when he went 15 for 27 (.556) with nine runs, 17 RBIs and four home runs over five games — something Brown witnessed firsthand as his the duo made up the Cowboys’ middle infield.

“I’m Roc Riggio’s No. 1 fan, that’s what I always say,” Brown said. “I’m super stoked for him. He’s seeing the ball really well right now. I know he had a tough start. He didn’t want to start out slow like that, but he’s really coming on as of late and looks like money at the plate. And I know all of us couldn’t be happier for him.”

While Riggio was battering balls and Garibay added a solo home run in the top of the third, Owen Stevenson and Holden Phelps combined to throw the Anglers’ (13-19-7) first shutout in a nine-inning game this season.

Stevenson commanded the first seven innings, never facing more than four batters in a frame. He scattered three hits and issued one walk. He allowed the leadoff batter to reach base just once, when Jace Bohrofen grounded a single through the right side of the infield in the bottom of the fourth. But Stevenson responded swiftly, retiring the next three batters on five total pitches.

“He doesn’t worry about his velocity. He hits spots. He’s a good thinker,” Holliday said. “And he’s a junior. He’s not a kid. He’s not 18. You can see he’s been through the art of pitching.”

Phelps made the transition to the bullpen seamless, setting the Commodores (17-19-3) down in order in the eighth inning before navigating around a one-out triple in the ninth.

“We’ve been having fun,” Riggio said. “We’re trying to make a playoff stretch here, trying to win some more ballgames, and that’s what it comes down to.”