The University of Rio Grande RedStorm baseball program saw its season come to an end on Saturday as the RedStorm dropped an 8-6 decision to West Virginia Tech in the River States Conference (RSC) Tournament on Monday evening at VA Stadium in Chillicothe.
Despite the loss — which ended Rio Grande’s season — Trent Downs and his RedStorm teammates proved to be quite impressive during the RSC Tournament.
The senior right-hander fired a five-hit shutout in leading the University of Rio Grande past Point Park University, 5-0, in the River States Conference Baseball Tournament on Sunday afternoon at VA Memorial Stadium.
Point Park, the tourney’s top seed, slipped to 36-18 with the loss, its fourth in five meetings with Rio Grande this season.
For Rio Grande, Sunday’s win over the Pioneers was all about Downs.
The Chillicothe, Ohio native scattered five hits and walked just one while striking out four en route to his 10th win in 12 decisions and his second shutout of the year.
Downs, who improved to 2-0 against PPU this season, was also the beneficiary of two double plays and a handful of dazzling defensive plays from his teammates throughout the afternoon.
Downs got all of the offensive help he would need in the opening inning, as the RedStorm parlayed three hits off Point Park starter Nick Beardsley and a pair of Pioneer errors into three runs.
Senior Luis Jimenez (Salinas, Puerto Rico) led off the game by reaching on an error and moved to second on a single by senior Daryin Lewis (Circleville, OH), before both rode home on a triple to right-center by senior Carlos Flores (Guayanilla, Puerto Rico).
One out later, junior Kameron Herring (Heath, OH) plated Flores with a single to left to make it 3-0.
Herring added another RBI hit with two outs in the third inning, again scoring Flores, who had reached on a one-out double.
Rio Grande added its final run in the seventh inning when junior Ty Warnimont (Rio Grande, OH) was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout and scored on a wild pitch by Beardsley.
Beardsley, who entered the game with a 5-0 record, a 1.88 earned run average and a batting average against of .172, allowed six hits and five runs – four earned – over 6-2/3 innings in suffering the loss. He walked one and struck out three.
Lewis, Flores and Herring all had two hits in the win for Rio Grande.
Addison Domingo went 2-for-3 and Edberg Dominguez had a double in the loss for Point Park.
The double by Dominguez led off the third inning, but he was left stranded at third base.
The first of Domingo’s two singles came in the fifth inning after a leadoff hit by Daniel Sanchez, but Downs escaped the jam by retiring Cole Johnson on a flyable to foul territory in right field and inducing Stefan Mrkonja into bouncing into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double-play.
Domingo’s second hit led off the home half of the eighth inning, but Johnson hit into a 6-4-3 double-play to short-circuit any hopes of mounting a comeback.
With their victory on Sunday, the RedStorm were able to recover from a 13-3 loss to Midway on Saturday evening at the VA.
The Pioneers posted a 4-2 win over No. 6 seed Brescia in Saturday’s tourney opener.
Midway, which improved to 25-27 with the victory, scored its second-highest run total of the season, topped only by a 15-3 rout of Asbury University on April 7.
The Eagles inflicted the bulk of their offensive onslaught against Rio senior Daryin Lewis (Circleville, OH), who gave up 10 hits and 12 runs – albeit only three of which were earned – over 5-2/3 innings. The right-hander, who suffered just his second loss in 11 decisions, also walked three and struck out four.
Midway’s six-run second inning uprising began innocently enough with back-to-back groundouts before D.J. Lewis drew a walk and Tyler Jones reached on a passed ball while striking out.
Then the floodgates opened.
Reid Battles followed with a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for consecutive run-scoring singles by Josh Wenning and Matthew Olson and back-to-back two-run singles by Hector Quinones and Barrett Croslin.
A trio of Rio errors helped the lead balloon to 9-0 in the third.
Danny Maguire led off with a walk and moved to third thanks to an errant throw on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Lewis. Jones followed with a sacrifice fly to center to plate Maguire and Lewis scored moments later on an infield hit by Reid Battles and a subsequent throwing error.
Battles scored the final run of the frame one out later when Matthew Olson’s ground ball to shortstop was errored.
Rio Grande got two of the runs back in the bottom of the inning thanks to a run-scoring double by senior Luis Jimenez (Salinas, Puerto Rico) and a throwing error which allowed Jimenez to score, while a home run by senior Logan Walters (Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada) — the first of his collegiate career — cut the deficit to 9-3 after five innings.
Any thought of a RedStorm comeback died, though, when the Eagles tacked on four more runs in the sixth inning — all with two outs.
Quinones doubled with one out and moved to third on an infield hit by Carlos Cespedes one out later. Maguire followed with a RBI single which spelled the end of the night for Lewis and D.J. Lewis greeted junior reliever Collin Powers (Janesville, WI) with a two-run triple to make it 12-3. A RBI single by Jones closed out the scoring.
Quinones finished with three hits and two RBI in the win for Midway, while Olson and Maguire had two hits apiece. Lewis, Jones, and Croslin also had two RBI each.
James Davenport (5-1) earned the win for the Eagles, scattering three hits and a walk over seven innings.
Rio finished the 2017 season with a 34-19-1 record.