NEWPORT, Ky. — The University of Rio Grande rallied for four runs in the seventh inning and scored twice more in the eighth inning to post a 6-4 game two win over Cincinnati Christian University and finish off a doubleheader sweep of the Eagles, Saturday afternoon, in River States Conference softball action at Newport Central Catholic High School.
The RedStorm, who rolled to a 7-1 win in the opening game, improved to 17-9 overall and 8-0 in league play with the sweep.
Cincinnati Christian dropped to 12-11 overall and 0-2 in the RSC as a result of the losses.
Rio Grande had been blanked on just two hits and trailed 4-0 when it came to bat for the final time in the nightcap.
Senior Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) and freshman Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) opened the inning with back-to-back singles and sophomore Mary Pica (Minford, OH) drew a walk to load the bases. Senior Carly Skeese (Newark, OH) followed with a two-run single to left-center to cut the deficit in half and a subsequent groundout by sophomore Aubrey Azbill (Miamisburg, OH) moved Pica and Skeese into scoring position.
After Brooke Wesley – who came on in relief of starter Mackenzie Meyer – struck out junior Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH), junior Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) brought home both runners with an infield hit to knot the score at 4-all.
Conkey was brought on in relief of sophomore starter Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) in the bottom of the seventh and struck out the side, setting the stage for the go-ahead rally in the eighth.
Freshman Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) clubbed an 0-2 offering from Wesley over the fence in center field for her eight home run of the year, giving Rio a 5-4 advantage, before back-to-back one-out doubles by Webb and Pica provided an insurance run.
CCU did get a runner to third base in the home eighth when Aleesha Rodriguez reached on a one-out walk, took second on a passed ball and moved to third on a groundout, but Conkey struck out Dawn Scribben – who was representing the tying run – to nail down the win.
Webb and Skeese finished with two hits each, while Azbill added a double to the winning effort.
Conkey earned her second win of the day, improving to 6-3 overall.
Wesley took the loss in relief for the Eagles.
Cortney Mooneyham drove in all four runs for CCU, including a three-run home run in the sixth inning. Rodriguez and Mattie Robbins had two hits each in the loss, while Scribben had a double.
In the opener, Rio Grande scored in each of its first four at bats and cruised to the win.
Criner went 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs, a double and three RBI, while Conkey was 2-for-4 with a run batted in.
Conkey tossed a complete game three-hitter, while walking one and striking out seven.
Jessica Tinsley took the loss for CCU, allowing eight hits and seven runs over 5-2/3 innings. Robbins drove in the Eagles’ lone run.
Rio Grande will return to action on Sunday when it hosts Lawrence Tech (Mich.) University of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference in a doubleheader at Rio Softball Park.
First pitch is slated for noon.
The Blue Devils bring a 17-1 record into the twinbill.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.