CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande baseball team snapped a three-game losing slide and opened the home portion of its schedule with a doubleheader sweep of Roosevelt University, Friday afternoon, at a chilly, snow-blown VA Memorial Stadium.
The RedStorm spotted the Lakers an early 3-2 lead in the opener before closing the game with nine unanswered runs and an 11-3 victory.
In the seven-inning nightcap, Rio rallied from an 8-2 deficit, scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh to record a 9-8 victory.
The RedStorm, who will make the one-hour drive north to play a portion of their home schedule in Chillicothe while work continues at Bob Evans Field to repair damage to the facility from a storm last June, improved to 6-4 with the sweep.
Roosevelt, a Chicago-based NAIA institution, was playing its season opener.
Rio scored a pair of first inning runs in game one thanks to a throwing error, but the Lakers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the second inning when Jordan Gosztola clubbed a three-run home run off of Rio senior starter Ryan Robertson.
The RedStorm regained the advantage for good with four runs in the bottom of the frame and added insurance later on with one run in the fourth inning and two markers in both the fifth and eighth frames.
Senior Kyle Perez and sophomore Isac Franklin had run-scoring hits and senior Shane Spies added a sacrifice fly in the four-run second.
Perez and Franklin also had RBIs in the fifth, while senior Vince Perry had a run-scoring groundout in the fourth and an RBI single in the eighth.
Outside of the three runs in the second inning, Robertson did not allow another run and scattered six hits over six innings to get the win. He walked three and struck out four.
Junior David Steele tossed three hitless, shutout innings of relief to earn a save. The right-hander issued one walk and struck out four.
Perez and junior Kyle Findley had three hits each in Rio’s 15-hit attack, while Franklin and freshman Kirk Yates had two hits apiece in the win. Perez and Findley also had a double among their respective hit totals.
Alex Miramontes started and took the loss for Roosevelt.
Six different players had one hit each for the Lakers. In addition to Gosztola’s home run, Josue Ahorrio and Danny Haze each had a double in a losing cause.
The opening game was delayed for 30 minutes in the eighth inning because of snow.
Game two was made to be much more dramatic after Roosevelt jumped on Rio junior starter Michael Deitsch for two runs in the first inning, three more runs in the second and single markers in both the third and fourth innings to build a 7-2 lead.
Ryan Pacyga had a two-run double in the first inning, before Franklin tied the game in the bottom of the frame with a two-run double of his own.
Brandon Richman and Anthony Carby had consecutive run-scoring doubles and Ahorrio added an RBI single later in the second to make it 5-2. Pacyga also had an RBI double inthe fourth.
The Lakers made it 8-2 in the fifth against RedStorm junior reliever Dylan Perego thanks to an RBI single by Danny Grzywa, but missed a chance to make the lead even bigger after failing to push across any additional runs after loading the bases with no outs.
Rio began the road back against Roosevelt starter Ruben Lomeli in the home fifth.
Perez was hit by a pitch with one out and freshman Chris Ford followed with a walk. Franklin greeted reliever Curt Vail with a walk to load the bases and Spies followed with an RBI single to make it 8-3.
Yates cleared the bases moments later with a double down the left field line and later scored on a single by senior Zach Dumler to make it 8-7.
Dumler was replaced on the bases by sophomore Luke Taylor, who promptly worked his way into scoring position with a stolen base, but reliever Jason English - who came on after the three-run double by Yates - struck out sophomore Grant Tamane to strand the would-be tying run.
The RedStorm completed the comeback, though, in their final at bat in the seventh.
Spies led off the inning with a booming home run to right-center on a 3-2 offering from English to knot the score at 8-all.
Yates followed with another double and Findley was intentionally walked. Liam Pegg came on to take over for English and Taylor followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners into scoring position.
Tamane then singled up the middle on a 3-2 pitch, past a drawn-in infield, to plate Yates with the game-winner.
Ford, Franklin, Spies and Yates all had two hits in the win, while Spies and Yates also drove in three runs each.
Sophomore reliever Anthony Bond, who recorded the final three outs in the top of the seventh, picked up the win.
English was tagged with the loss.
Ahorrio went 3-for-4 to lead the Lakers offensively, while Pacyga, Haze, Grzywa and Richman all had two hits each in the loss. Pacyga also had three RBI.