JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Jesse Watson’s bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning capped a late comeback effort and lifted the University of Rio Grande to a 5-4 game two win over Lindsey Wilson College, Friday night, in non-conference baseball action at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.
The victory gave the RedStorm a split of the twinbill after the Blue Raiders posted a 12-1 mercy rule-shortened win in the opener.
Rio Grande finished the day at 4-6.
Lindsey Wilson is 1-2 after the split.
Rio’s game winning rally began when senior Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) led off the home seventh with a walk and moved to third on an errant pickoff throw by Cade Duncan — the second of what would be three Lindsey Wilson pitchers.
Freshman Albert Bobadilla (Bronx, NY) also drew a walk, prompting Duncan to be lifted in favor of Jake McDaniel.
Sophomore Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) was then intentionally walked to setup a force at any base, but Watson — a senior from Las Cruces, New Mexico — ended the game by hitting McDaniel’s first offering back up the middle to score Cluxton with the game-winning run.
The RedStorm coughed up an early lead after scoring single runs in the first and third innings — one on an infield hit by freshman Tristan Arno (Elyria, OH) and the other on an LWC throwing error — but the Blue Raiders roared back with a run in the fourth inning and three runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead.
Rio tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI triple by Surrell and a subsequent wild pitch, setting up Watson’s heroics two innings later.
Freshman Lane Mettler (Bainbridge, OH) earned the win in relief, allowing one hit and striking out three in two scoreless innings. He worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth to keep the game knotted at 4-all.
Duncan took the loss for Lindsey Wilson.
Watson and freshman Darius Jordan (Minford, OH) had two hits each for Rio Grande in the victory.
Ty Menrath finished 2-for-4 in the loss for the Blue Raiders, while Tyler Maskill had a double and drove in a run. Seth Price and Kelvin Llanos also had one RBI each for LWC.
Game one belonged to Lindsey Wilson from the outset.
The Blue Raiders scored four times in the first inning and, after Rio got one of the markers back in the second inning, finished the game with eight unanswered runs — six of which came in the fifth inning — to help invoke the 10-run mercy rule.
Brady Cappe limited the RedStorm to just four singles in a complete game effort. He walked one and struck out 10, while allowing an unearned run.
Junior Cody Gabriel (Upper Sandusky, OH) started and took the loss for Rio, allowing eight hits and as many runs over 4-1/3 innings. He also walked four, hit one batter and threw a pair of wild pitches.
Derek Zavala went 3-for-4 and drove in a run to lead Lindsey Wilson offensively, while Menrath, Price and Llanos all drove in two runs each. Menrath and Llanos each had a double.
Brandon Adams had two hits of his own and Lucas Bault also doubled for the Blue Raiders.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.