April 17, 2010
Rio Grande and Campbellsville split (again)
Rio Grande --- Fans of Mid-South Conference baseball don't really know any more than they did before the weekend began as far as who the better team is - Rio Grande or Campbellsville. The two teams split a doubleheader for the second straight day at Bob Evans Field. Campbellsville took the first game 5-2 and Rio Grande responded with a 5-1 victory in game two to even the series at two games apiece.
Rio Grande (39-8, 19-5 MSC), ranked No. 25 in the latest NAIA Top 25 poll, had some defensive difficulties in the first game as they committed three errors and just seemed a little off across the board.
Campbellsville (31-15, 19-4 MSC), ranked No. 21 in the NAIA Top 25, scored twice in the first inning and never trailed in picking up the game one win. Richie Rowland powered the Tigers offense with three RBI's, including a sacrifice fly and a two-run home run that put Campbellsville up by a 5-1 margin in the fifth inning. Logan Smith added two hits and an RBI to the Tiger cause.
The RedStorm made the score 2-1 in the second inning, but could have done considerably more damage in the frame had they been able to get that timely hit. Senior centerfielder Ryan Yakura (Pickering, ONT) drove in both Rio Grande runs with a sac fly in the second and a double in the sixth. Senior third baseman Tyler Schunk (Cincinnati, OH) was 2-for-3 with a double and scored both Rio runs. Senior designated hitter Chris Mahon (Hamilton, OH) and senior catcher Tyler Plumpton (Peterborough, ONT) had one hit each as the RedStorm amassed only five safeties in the first game.
Rio junior Angel Santiago (Santa Isabel, PR) lost his first game of the season. Santiago (6-1) pitched six innings, allowing eight hits and five runs with five strikeouts and three walks.
Eric Mattos (8-1) pitched five innings to get the win for the Tigers, despite allowing seven walks. Rio managed only two hits against him and two runs while he fanned five batters. Alex Tolmachoff pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the save.
In game two, it was Rio Grande who scored first and never trailed. The RedStorm put up two runs in the first inning with Schunk and junior leftfielder Michael Lynch (Cleveland, OH) ripping back-to-back doubles with two outs to give Rio a 2-0 lead.
Rio added two more runs in the fourth frame and one more in the sixth. Senior rightfielder John Storey (Wheelersburg, OH) was 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBI's to lead the RedStorm offense in the second game. Junior second baseman Christian Frias (Salinas, PR) was 0-for-2 with an RBI.
Yakura and Mahon were both 1-for-3 with doubles and Plumpton added a hit as well.
The story of game two was senior lefty Ryan Cramer (Olympia, WA). Cramer (3-0) fired an absolute gem in holding the Tigers to three hits and one unearned run in six innings of pitching. He struck out two and walked two. Sophomore Ryan Chapman (Racine, OH) fired a scoreless seventh in relief to finish off the Tigers.
Curtis Payne (3-4) took the loss for Campbellsville. He was chased from the mound in the third inning after giving up three hits and three runs with one strikeout and two walks.
"Ryan threw an outstanding game, again we had some defensive miscues, but we made the plays when we needed to and we got some timely hits and we hit the ball like we're capable of in the second game and I think that was the biggest difference," said Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont. "We split, we're not exactly where we want to be, but we're a half-game behind them and going into next weekend, we'll see how it plays out as far as the seeding goes for the tournament."
"Outstanding pitching, Ryan Chapman also came in and threw outstanding again, really we got pretty decent pitching in both ball games we've just got to take care of the baseball," Warnimont added.
The second game victory gives Rio 39 wins on the season, which establishes a new-school record for a single season. The old mark of 38 was set last season. Warnimont is pleased, but he wants his team to shoot higher and not settle for 39 being the new standard. "I told the guys, you play one game at a time, my thing is they shouldn't be content with 39. This ought to be a club that sets their sights on 50," Warnimont said. "With the tournament and post-season play and we've got one more (four-game) series left and a non-conference doubleheader and we've got one game to make up yet. Set your sights beyond on what previous teams have done and make this team a special team."
Rio Grande will travel to St. Catharine College next weekend for a four-game set beginning on Friday at 1 p.m. Stretch Internet will have play-by-play coverage at approximately 12:55 p.m.