Rio Grande Sports Information
RIO GRANDE, Ohio - On a day when the most successful senior class in program history was honored in pre-game ceremonies, the University of Rio Grande softball team went about business as usual on the diamond.
The 19th-ranked RedStorm knocked off West Virginia University-Tech by scores of 5-2 and 3-0, Sunday afternoon, in River States Conference action at a sunny and summer-like warm Rio Softball Park.
Head coach Chris Hammond's squad improved to 41-7 overall and 17-1 in the RSC and finished the regular season with 30 wins in their last 31 outings. The 41 wins also equals the single-season school record set just one year ago.
WVU-Tech finished the regular season at 14-35 overall and 10-8 against league foes.
Senior right-hander Jenna Jones (Lancaster, Ohio) tossed six shutout innings in the opener, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six en route to her 11th win in 14 decisions.
The RedStorm pushed across single runs in each of the first three innings before scoring twice more in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 5-0.
The first inning marker came without the aid of a hit thanks to three errors by the Golden Bears, while senior Alex Stevens (Oak Hill, OH) plated the second inning run with a fielder's choice grounder to shortstop and sophomore Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) hit a one-out solo home run in the third inning.
Rio's two sixth inning runs both scored via Tech's fifth error of the game.
The Golden Bears scored twice in the seventh inning against Rio senior reliever Tiffany Bise (Circleville, OH) and had runners at second and third base with one out, but Bise retired each of the final two batters - both of whom represented the would-be tying run - on flyballs to centerfield to seal the victory.
Senior Cheyenne Hamaker (Hilliard, OH) had two hits in the win for Rio, while junior Gabby Gregg (Ashville, OH) and sophomore Carly Skeese (Newark, OH) both had a double in the winning effort.
Skylar Connelly and Kayla Harbin had two hits each in the loss for Tech, while Karina Atanacio had a double. Sydney Smith started and took the loss for the Golden Bears.
In game two, Conkey improved to 18-1 on the season by tossing a three-hit shutout. The right-hander, who also struck out three batters, finished regular season play as the RSC's leader in wins (18), earned run average (0.83) and shutouts (7).
Rio inflicted all of the offensive damage it needed with a pair of runs in the second inning thanks to a two-out run scoring double by freshman Michaela Criner (Lancaster, OH) and an RBI single by Skeese.
Skeese added a run-scoring double in the fourth inning to close out the scoring.
Criner, Skeese and sophomore MacKenzie Nichols (Columbus, OH) all had two hits each, including a double, in the win for the RedStorm.
Kayla Jones had a double in the loss for WVU Tech. Atanacio, who came on in relief of starter Mackenzie Wilson just four batters into the contest, suffered the loss for the Golden Bears.
Rio Grande will be the top seed in the RSC tournament and will face Carlow University in its opening game, next Friday, at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna, W.Va.
Game times and the tourney bracket will be announced by league officials on Monday.