GULF SHORES, Ala. — Raelynn Hastings tossed a two-hit shutout and the University of Rio Grande scratched out a fourth inning run en route to a 1-0 victory over fourth-ranked Columbia (Mo.) College as part of the Gulf Coast Invitational, Friday afternoon, at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
The RedStorm (6-6) finished their day with a 4-1 loss to Baker (Kan.) University.
In the opening game win, Hastings out dueled Columbia starter Kaitlyn Nottelmann.
Hastings, a sophomore right-hander from Commercial Point, Ohio, checked the Cougars on just two singles. She walked just one and struck out four.
Nottelmann allowed only one hit in a losing cause, while walking three and fanning four in a complete game effort.
Rio scored the game’s lone run in the fourth when junior Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) broke up Nottelmann’s perfect game bid with a single to center, moved to second on a sacrifice, took third on consecutive walks to sophomore Mary Pica (Minford, OH) and senior Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by sophomore Morgan Santos (Dayton, OH).
Columbia managed only one runner past first base in the loss.
In the nightcap against Baker, the Wildcats scored a third inning run to snap a 1-1 deadlock before adding a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning to seal their eighth win in as many outings.
Baker took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a leadoff home run by Megan Porche, but Rio tied the score in the home half of the frame on a solo home run by freshman Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH).
The Wildcats went in front for good in the third when Jazzmine Thorpe doubled with one out, moved to third on a single by Riley Swickard and scored on a groundout by Briele Rees.
That’s how things stayed until the sixth when an RBI double by Skylar Gorrell highlighted a two-run uprising.
The RedStorm went down in order in the sixth inning and, after Conkey drew a leadoff walk in the home seventh, Olivia Brees came on to strike out the next three Rio batters and nail down the victory.
Gorrell started and got the win for Baker, allowing two hits and a walk over five innings. Brees was credited with a save.
Swickard finished 3-for-3 in the win, while Hannah Flynn finished with two hits.
Conkey suffered the loss for Rio, allowing eight hits and the four runs over eight innings.
Rio Grande will play three games on Saturday, facing Faulkner (Ga.) University at 10 a.m., Ave Maria (Fla.) at noon and Lyon (Ark.) College at 5:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.