CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — David Rodriguez had a two-run home run and a run-scoring double, while Ty Warnimont had two hits of his own – including a two-run single – to fuel a nine-run fifth inning and lead the University of Rio Grande in a 15-1 rout of Ohio University-Chillicothe, Tuesday afternoon, in non-conference baseball action at VA Memorial Stadium.
The RedStorm improved to 16-19 with the victory, pounding out a season-high 17 hits in the process.
OU-Chillicothe slipped to 1-5 with the loss.
The Hilltoppers hung tough early and trailed just 2-0 before Rio Grande blew things open by sending 15 batters to the plate and scoring nine times in the fifth inning.
Rodriguez, a junior from Santo Domingo, D.R., got the uprising underway by greeting OU-C reliever Kyle Griener with his team-high sixth home run of the year – a blast which also scored junior Michael Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.), who had drawn a leadoff walk – to make it 4-0.
Warnimont, a senior from Rio Grande, Ohio, followed with a double, sophomore Eli Daniels (Minford, OH) walked and senior Juan Cruz (Juana Diaz, P.R.) reached on a bunt single to load the bases and set the stage for a sacrifice fly by senior Kameron Herring (Heath, OH) which extended the advantage to 5-0.
Sophomore Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) followed with an RBI double which prompted a pitching change and fellow sophomore Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH) touched up new Hilltopper hurler Andrew Barr with a two-run single to make it 8-0.
Senior Cody Blackburn (Amanda, OH) kept things going with a single and, one out later, Rodriguez doubled home another run. Warnimont then singled home two more runs to make it 11-0.
OU-Chillicothe avoided a shutout by scoring an unearned run in the sixth inning, but Rio tacked on four more runs in the home half of the seventh to set the final score.
Junior Zac Morris highlighted the four-run seventh with an inside-the-park home run, while Kyle Boggs and Matt Joyce added run-scoring singles in the frame.
Warnimont and Cruz had three hits each in the win, while Shockley, Rodriguez and Cluxton all had two hits each. Shockley and Rodriguez drove in three runs apiece and Warnimont finished with two RBI.
Senior Collin Powers (Janesville, WI) started and got the win for the RedStorm, allowing two hits and a walk over five shutout innings. The right-hander struck out four.
Four Rio pitchers limited the Hilltoppers to just five singles on the afternoon.
Jacob Chester started and took the loss for OU-C, allowing five hits and two runs over four innings.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action this weekend, traveling to Pittsburgh, Pa. for doubleheaders against River States Conference leader Point Park University on both Friday and Saturday.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.