RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Daryin Lewis earned his eighth win in nine decisions and Carlos Flores drove in a pair of runs to lead the University of Rio Grande in a 5-4 game one win over Midway University, Friday afternoon, in River States Conference baseball action at Bob Evans Field.
The Eagles avoided a sweep of the doubleheader – and the four-game weekend series – with a 7-6 victory in the nightcap.
Rio Grande, which had a six-game winning streak and a 12-game unbeaten streak snapped by the game two loss, finished the day at 28-16-1 overall and 20-7-1 in conference play.
The RedStorm also finished the day 1-1/2 games behind league leader Point Park and a game back of second place Indiana University-Southeast. The Pioneers and Grenadiers are scheduled to complete their weekend series on Saturday afternoon.
Midway was left at 23-25 overall and 20-12 in the RSC by the split.
Lewis, a senior from Circleville, Ohio, earned the win despite struggling from the outset. The right-hander allowed nine hits, walked two and hit a batter over 5-2/3 innings.
Sophomore Zach Harvey (Kenova, WV) came on to record the final four outs and earn his third save of the season – and his second in as many days.
Midway grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a bases-loaded walk to Danny Maguire, but the RedStorm took the lead for good with two runs in the second inning and another in the third.
A wild pitch allowed the tying run to score in the second, while freshman Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) – making his first varsity start – drove in the go-ahead marker with a two-out single to right-center.
Flores, a senior from Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, drove in the third inning run with a one-out single off Midway starter Hector Quinones.
The Eagles closed to within 3-2 in the top of the fifth when Barrett Croslin reached on a two-out single, stole second, took third on a wild pitch by Lewis and scored on a double by Carlos Cespedes.
Rio Grande got the run back – plus one – in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Lewis and a sacrifice fly by Flores, but Midway refused to go away quietly.
The Eagles scored a sixth inning run on a triple by Josh Wenning and an RBI single by Matthew Olson and Cespedes homered off of Harvey in the seventh to make it 5-4, but Harvey retired each of the next three batters after the Cespedes home run to nail down the win.
Senior Dan Crozier (Ballston Spa, NY) added two hits in the victory for Rio.
Cespedes finished 3-for-4 in the loss for Midway, while Wenning and Olson had two hits each.
Quinones allowed six hits and five runs over five innings and suffered the loss.
Rio Grande grabbed a 1-0 first inning lead in game two thanks to a sacrifice fly by Lewis, but the Eagles scored twice in the second inning – one scoring on one of the five errors committed by the RedStorm inside the first two innings and the other on a single by Koy Lindsey – and never trailed again.
The RedStorm did tie the game in the fourth at 2-2 on a two-out single by junior Ty Warnimont (Rio Grande, OH), but Midway scored three more times in the fifth and twice more in the seventh to open up a 7-2 lead.
As things turned out, the two seemingly unimportant insurance runs in the seventh turned out to be huge.
Rio rallied for four runs in the bottom of the frame and had the would-be tying run in scoring position and the would-be winning run at the plate when the game ended.
The RedStorm loaded the bases with one out and cut the deficit to 7-3 on a groundout by junior Cody Blackburn (Amanda, OH). Junior Kam Herring (Heath, OH) followed with a two-run single and Crozier doubled home Herring to make it 7-6.
Midway turned to reliever Conner Lindsay to finish things off, which he did by inducing Cluxton into a game-ending groundout to shortstop.
Junior Collin Powers started and took the loss for Rio, allowing five hits and four walks over 4-1/3 innings.
Tyler Jones got the win in relief for the Eagles, despite allowing the four seventh inning runs.
Croslin finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, while DJ Lewis hit a two-run home run in the win for Midway.
Rio Grande returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts the University of Pikeville for a non-conference doubleheader in the 2017 home finale. First pitch for game one is set for 1 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.