RedStorm advance to MSC championship round
Campbellsville, Ky. --- The University of Rio Grande RedStorm baseball team is one victory away from a Mid-South Conference Tournament championship in their first year in the league. Rio advanced with a 3-2 victory over No. 1 seed Campbellsville at Tiger Field on Friday.
Rio Grande (46-10), the No. 2 seed in the tournament, battled back from an early 2-0 deficit to stay in the winner's bracket.
Campbellsville (38-19), the regular season champion, scored two runs in the first inning against Rio freshman lefthander Ryan Robertson (Waverly, OH), the MSC Freshman of the Year.
Rio Grande fought back to tie the game with single runs in the second and third innings. Senior rightfielder John Storey (Wheelersburg, OH) and senior designated hitter Chris Mahon (Hamilton, OH) delivered RBI hits to knot the score against Campbellsville's Ian Pick, the MSC Pitcher of the Year.
The game stayed even until the eighth inning. Senior third baseman Tyler Schunk (Cincinnati, OH), the MSC Player of the Year, began the inning by hitting a screaming line drive off the glove of the third baseman that was scored an error. He later scored the deciding run on a base-hit from senior centerfielder Ryan Yakura (Pickering, ONT).
Rio Grande had seven hits in the game with junior second sacker Christian Frias (Salinas, PR) leading the way, going 2-for-4. In addition to the run-scoring singles by Storey, Mahon and Yakura, Schunk was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and junior first baseman Francisco Ramirez (Columbus, OH) was 1-for-4.
Robertson (12-1) went the distance for the victory. He scattered nine hits and allowed two earned runs with seven strikeouts and three walks. He out-dueled Pick (10-1), who also delivered a complete game effort. Pick allowed three runs and seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont credited the play of his defense for the win. "We played great defense again today," he said. We made some great plays behind Robo (Robertson)."
"They had a couple more scoring chances, but we were able to snuff them out," Warnimont added. "We had some timely hitting and now we move on tomorrow needing to win one game."
Rio moves to 3-2 this season against Campbellsville.
Rio Grande will face the winner of Campbellsville/Georgetown at 2 p.m. at Tiger Field on Saturday. Rio needs one win to claim the championship and earn a spot in the NAIA Region Tournament. The team that comes out of the loser's bracket must defeat Rio twice to win the title. Should a second game be necessary on Saturday, the first pitch would occur at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Stretch Internet will have play-by-play coverage of the game beginning at 1:55 p.m.