RIO GRANDE, Ohio — University of Rio Grande junior right-hander Zach Harvey tossed a three-hit shutout and the RedStorm used a late offensive explosion to pull away for a 7-0 win over Ohio Christian University, Friday afternoon, in the River States Conference baseball opener for both teams at Bob Evans Field.
Rio Grande, which was also playing its home opener, improved to 6-13 with a second straight win.
Ohio Christian dropped to 2-10 with a sixth straight loss.
Harvey, a native of Kenova, W.Va., picked up his first win in four decisions this season by scattering three hits, walking one and striking out 11 batters in a 98-pitch complete game effort.
OCU starter Logan Webb was nearly as impressive, taking a shutout of his own – in addition to a no-hitter – into the sixth inning.
But that’s when the RedStorm rallied for what proved to be the only offense it would need.
Sophomore Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH) led off with a single to end Webb’s no-hit bid and was replaced by junior courtesy runner Zac Morris (Heath, OH). Junior David Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) followed with a walk, a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position and senior Ty Warnimont (Rio Grande, OH) dumped a single into shallow right to score Morris with the game’s first run.
Sophomore Eli Daniels (Minford, OH) was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and sophomore Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Webb escaped any further damage by coaxing junior Michael Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) into an inning-ending double-play.
The RedStorm gave Harvey all the insurance he would need, though, in the home half of the eighth inning by parlaying five hits and a pair of walks into five more runs against a pair of Trailblazers’ relievers.
David Rodriguez led off the inning with a single off OCU right-hander Tyler France and, one out later, consecutive hits by Daniels and Cluxton loaded the bases. Michael Rodriguez and sophomore pinch-hitter Santiago Martinez (Gahanna, OH) drew consecutive walks – the second of which was issued by reliever Hunter Gray – to force in runs, before senior Juan Cruz (Juana Diaz, P.R.) had a two-run single and senior Cody Blackburn (Amanda, OH) followed with an RBI hit of his own.
Cruz finished 2-for-3 at the plate and was the only player for either team with multiple hits in the contest.
Webb suffered his fourth loss in as many decisions for OCU, despite allowing just three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over seven innings.
The three-game weekend series concludes Saturday with a noon doubleheader. Game one will be a nine-inning contest, while the nightcap will be seven innings.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.