May 20, 2010
RedStorm ousted from national tournament
Daytona Beach, Fla. --- A furious comeback by the University of Rio Grande RedStorm baseball team went all for naught as Rio fell 8-7 in 10 innings to St. Thomas University in an elimination game at the 54th Annual NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round at Embry-Riddle's Sliwa Stadium.
Rio Grande (48-13), the No. 3 seed in the tournament fell behind 5-0 as St. Thomas (32-30), the No. 5 seed, plated two runs in the second and three more in the third.
Rio rallied to take a 7-5 lead with three runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the seventh. Senior third baseman Tyler Schunk (Cincinnati, OH) and senior centerfielder Ryan Yakura (Pickering, ONT) powered the comeback with home runs. Schunk belted a two-run shot and Yakura added a solo blast.
The RedStorm also had an RBI single from senior designated hitter Chris Mahon (Hamilton, OH). Junior first baseman Francisco Ramirez (Columbus, OH) and junior leftfielder Michael Lynch (Cleveland, OH) were the beneficiaries of RBI walks.
Rio posted nine hits in the game. Yakura led the RedStorm with two hits on the day.
St. Thomas tied the game at 7-7 in the eighth inning with a pair of runs off Rio sophomore Ryan Chapman (Racine, OH). Junior righthander Desmond Sullivan (Scarborough, ONT) pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed five runs. The Rio pitchers allowed two walks and hit five batters in the game.
Schunk (12-3) came on in relief in the ninth inning and got the RedStorm out of a bases-loaded, no out jam to keep the game tied and send it to extra innings. He surrendered the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th, giving up a lead-off triple and then a base-hit through a drawn-in infield.
Rio missed out on two scoring chances in the ninth and the 10th innings, stranding runners on second base in both frames.
Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont summed up the game. "We left runners at second in the ninth and 10th innings," he said. "We just did not get a timely hit."
St. Thomas advanced to play top-seeded Embry-Riddle for the right to go to the NAIA College World Series while Rio Grande's historic, record-breaking season comes to an end.