Rio Grande Sports Information
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio - Monday afternoon's conclusion to a four-game weekend series with Ohio Christian University had the University of Rio Grande baseball team experiencing both ends of the spectrum.
The RedStorm cruised to a 12-2 win over the host Trailblazers in the opening game of their River States Conference doubleheader at Olson Field, while game two ended in a 2-2 tie after 12 innings because of darkness.
Rio Grande finished the day at 21-15-1 overall and 13-6-1 in league play.
The tie was the first for the RedStorm program since a 9-9 deadlock with Fairmont (W.Va.) State University on March 10, 2001.
Rio Grande enjoyed a 2-0 lead in the nightcap thanks to a first inning sacrifice fly by senior Dan Crozier (Ballston Spa, NY) and a fifth inning RBI single by sophomore Juan Cruz (Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico), but the Trailblazers rallied to tie the game thanks to an error and a wild pitch in the fifth inning and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth by Ethan Skowronski.
Neither team managed to dent the plate over the final six innings, although both had opportunities to do so.
Rio Grande stranded runners at second and third base in the seventh and saw a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning end in a controversial double-play. Senior Carlos Flores (Guayanilla, Puerto Rico) hit an apparent sacrifice fly to right field with one out, but senior Luis Jimenez (Salinas, Puerto Rico) was called out at the plate after tagging up from third base - although he appeared to score before being tagged by OCU catcher Zach Mason - for an inning-ending twin-killing.
The RedStorm also wasted a one-out double by Jimenez in the 10th and a leadoff double by Crozier in the 11th, while stranding a runner at second base in the 12th as well.
OCU (6-29-1, 3-16-1 RSC) put runners at first and second base with one out in the 10th and had runners at second and third base with two outs in the 11 and failed to score.
The Trailblazers also wasted a leadoff double by Michael Anderson in the home half of the 12th inning. Caleb Penney tried to bunt Anderson over to third base, but Rio junior first baseman Cody Blackburn (Amanda, OH) fielded the ball and fired to third to retire Anderson.
Logan Hill followed with what appeared to be an inning-ending double-play grounder to third base, but Cruz dropped the relay throw to second base and all hands were safe. The inning ended moments later, though, when Eric Rinehart popped out to shallow left-center field and Penney was thrown out trying to retreat to the second base bag for a double-play.
With sunset scheduled for just three minutes after the final out of the 12th - and no lights at the field - game umpires Greg Van Zant and Brian Roberts called the game because of darkness.
Jimenez had three hits, while Blackburn and Crozier had two hits each for Rio Grande.
Rinehart and Isaiah Haley both had two hits for Ohio Christian.
The opening game had much less to offer in the drama department.
Rio Grande scored four times in the second inning and sent 14 batters to the plate in an eight-run third inning.
Junior Kam Herring (Heath, OH) had an RBI double in the second inning and cracked a three-run home run in the third, while senior Daryin Lewis (Circleville, OH) had three hits and a run batted in and Blackburn drove in two runs.
Jimenez also had three hits, while Crozier, junior Ty Warnimont (Rio Grande, OH) and junior Dominic Tiberi (Dublin, OH) all finished with two hits each. Both of Tiberi's hits were doubles.
Senior Trent Downs (Chillicothe, OH) earned his sixth win in nine decisions for the RedStorm, although he saw his shutout bid end in the sixth inning thanks to a one-out double by Hayden Hufford and a subsequent RBI single by Hill.
The Trailblazers added an unearned run against sophomore Zac Morris (Heath, OH) in the seventh to finish the scoring.
Rio Grande returns to action on Friday afternoon when it travels to Cincinnati to take on Cincinnati Christian University.