May 18, 2010
RedStorm win first NAIA game
Daytona Beach, Fla. --- The dream season continues for the University of Rio Grande RedStorm baseball team as they ascend to new heights each and every game. The RedStorm rallied from a 4-3 deficit late to pull out a 5-4 victory over No. 2 seed Faulkner University in the first game of the 54th Annual NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round on Tuesday at Embry-Riddle University's Sliwa Stadium.
Rio Grande (48-11), the No. 3 seed in the group, fell behind 1-0 to Faulkner (39-20) in the first inning, but rallied for three runs to take 3-1 lead after three innings of play.
Faulkner pecked away at Rio senior pitcher Tyler Schunk (Cincinnati, OH) and forged ahead 4-3 with a run in the sixth and two runs in the seventh inning to briefly take control of the game.
Rio responded with two runs in the eighth to regain the lead and Schunk finished things off for his 12th win of the season.
Schunk (12-2) yielded six hits and four earned runs in nine innings while striking out 10 batters. He was 1-for-1 at the plate.
The RedStorm recorded eight hits in the game. Senior rightfielder John Storey (Wheelersburg, OH) went 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead the offense. Senior catcher Tyler Plumpton (Peterborough, ONT) was 1-for-4 with a double, junior shortstop Brad Konrad (Maumee, OH) and junior first baseman Francisco Ramirez (Columbus, OH) both were 1-for-4. Konrad scored the tying the run in the eighth and Ramirez had an RBI to his credit.
Junior second baseman Christian Frias (Salinas, PR) was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Junior leftfielder Michael Lynch (Cleveland, OH) added an RBI hit and senior centerfielder Ryan Yakura (Pickering, ONT) delivered the game-winning RBI with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont gave Schunk a lot of credit for battling through a 140-pitch day to get the win. "He's the heart and soul of our team," Warnimont said. "He battled, throwing 140 pitches, they got to him in the seventh, but we bounced right back."
Rio Grande will play in the winner's bracket on Wednesday at 2 p.m. versus the winner of No. 1 seed Embry-Riddle and No. 4 seed Union (KY). Stretch Internet will have play-by-play coverage beginning at approximately 1:55 p.m.
Union advanced with a 6-5 walk-off victory over No. 5 St. Thomas in the first game of the day.