NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Senior David Rodriguez hit a run-scoring double to cap a two-out, three-run ninth inning rally and lift the University of Rio Grande to a 5-4 win over Indiana University Southeast, Friday afternoon, in River States Conference baseball action at a chilly Koetter Baseball Complex.
Rio Grande improved to 13-7 overall and 1-0 in league play with its fifth straight win.
The RedStorm also snapped a five-game losing slide against the Grenadiers.
IU Southeast, which received votes in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll, slipped to 9-6 overall and 0-1 in league play.
The Grenadiers took a 4-1 lead into the ninth inning before juniors Kent Reeser (Miamisburg, OH) and Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) got the Rio rally started with consecutive one-out singles to center off Kyle Hawkins, the last of three IUS pitchers.
Hawkins retired senior pinch-hitter Zach Harvey (Kenova, WV) on a strikeout as Reeser stole third and Cluxton stole second, but junior Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH) followed with a single to center to knot the score at 4-4.
Senior Roanderson Severino (Reading, PA) came on to run for Shockley and moved into scoring position on a single to left by freshman Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH), setting the stage for the go-ahead double to right by Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.).
Shockley took over on the mound in the bottom of the ninth and promptly surrendered a single to left by Cody Maloon, who was replaced on the base paths by Dalton Drexler.
Shockley routinely retired each of the next two batters before Drexler stole second and third, but the game ended moments later when Dalton Mitchell struck out looking.
Rio Grande grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning when senior Michael Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) led off with a single and scored on a two-out triple to right by Reeser.
IUS tied the game in home fourth on a two-out RBI single by Jordan Branz and then surged in front with three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to three straight two-out errors by the RedStorm.
Rio got one of the runs back in the eighth inning on an RBI double by David Rodriguez, setting up the dramatic finish.
David Rodriguez finished with three hits, including two doubles, for the RedStorm, while Surrell, Michael Rodriguez and Reeser all had two hits each.
Maloon and Daniel Brescia had two hits apiece in the loss for Southeast. Brescia’s hit total included a double.
Sophomore Caleb Fetzer (Van Wert, OH) earned the win in relief for the RedStorm, allowing one hit and three walks while striking out five over 2-2/3 innings.
Shockley earned a second save.
Rio junior starter Zach Kendall (Troy, OH) pitched well, allowing seven hits and four runs – only one of which was earned – over 5-1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Hawkins took the loss, allowing five hits and three runs in his one inning of work.
The two teams will complete the weekend series with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.