RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande parlayed a porous defensive effort by Point Park University into seven unearned runs and went on to post a 9-5 win over the visiting Pioneers, Friday afternoon, in River States Conference baseball action at a cold and wet Bob Evans Field.
The RedStorm improved to 10-12 overall and 3-1 in league play.
Point Park dropped to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in the RSC.
The Pioneers committed five errors for the game, including three two-out miscues which fueled a six-run fourth inning for Rio which blew the game open.
It was Point Park, though, which grabbed the game’s first lead in the top of the second when Justin Oakley drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on a single to left-center by Omar Morillo.
Rio Grande tied the game with an unearned run in the bottom of the frame when graduate senior Andrew Daria (Villa Hills, KY) led off with a single, moved to second on a two-out single by junior Darius Jordan (Minford, OH) and scored when sophomore Alex Scoular’s (Whitby, Ontario, Canada) groundball to second was booted for an error.
Then came the game-changing bottom of the fourth inning.
Point Park starter Easton Klein retired the first two batters routinely before junior Trey Carter (Wheelersburg, OH) reached on an error. Jordan followed with a walk before Scoular singled to right, plating Carter with the go-ahead run.
Senior Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) singled to left to score Jordan and make it 3-1 before junior Jakob Johnson (Pickerington, OH) was hit by a pitch and replaced by junior courtesy runner Austin Kendall (Troy, OH).
Junior AJ Thomas (Pickerington, OH) followed with what looked to be an inning-ending grounder to third, but the throw to second in an effort to force out Kendall was in the dirt as Scoular raced home with another run.
Junior Ashton Focht (Lebanon, OH) was brought on to run for Thomas and, moments later, junior Daniel Rutherford (Coal Grove, OH) singled to right and two more runs scored to push the lead to 6-1.
Rutherford then stole second and, thanks to an errant throw from the catcher, Focht trotted home from third to make it 7-1.
Rio Grande sandwiched an RBI groundout by Johnson in the sixth and a sacrifice fly by Focht in the eighth around a seventh inning run by the Pioneers for a 9-2 lead, but the RedStorm were forced to endure some tense moments in the visitors’ final at bat.
Morillo and Carlos Martinez opened the inning with consecutive singles off sophomore reliever Reid Shultz (Minford, OH) before Jared Campbell’s sacrifice bunt along the third base line was thrown away for an error, allowing Morillo to score.
Eddie Javier, Jr. plated Martinez with a groundout to shortstop before Jordon Campbell struck out, leaving the Pioneers down to their final out.
Shultz was lifted in favor of senior Trey White (Crooksville, OH), who surrendered a run-scoring single to Isaac Santana and a single to Michali Brito to put the would-be tying run in the on-deck circle.
White was then removed in favor of junior Lance Mettler (Bainbridge, OH), who put the rally to bed by striking out Oakley to end the game.
Surrell led Rio Grande’s offensive effort, going 3-for-4 and finishing a home run shy of the cycle. Scoular also had a pair of hits.
Freshman starter Jacob Napier (Alexandria, KY) picked up his third win in as many decisions, allowing two hits and a run over five innings. The right-hander did issue five walks, but also struck out 10.
Mettler’s save was his third.
Klein suffered the loss for Point Park, allowing six hits and seven runs – all unearned – over five innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Morillo and Martinez both had three hits in a losing cause for the Pioneers, while Brito finished 2-for-4.
Martinez and Brito both had doubles.
The two teams are scheduled to wrap up their weekend series with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon.