RIO GRANDE, Ohio — After posting a memorable game one finish to earn a win against a tradition-laden opponent, the University of Rio Grande baseball team closed out the day with a game two finish that it couldn’t forget about quickly enough.
Campbellsville University sent 19 batters to the plate and scored 13 times in a 57-minute top of the fifth inning to avoid a sweep by the RedStorm and post a 16-6 victory in the nightcap of Tuesday’s non-conference twinbill at Bob Evans Field.
The disappointing setback came on the heels of a dramatic 3-2 extra innings triumph in the opening game.
Rio Grande finished the day at 7-14 with the split.
The Tigers, a former rival of the RedStorm during the days that both schools were part of the Mid-South Conference, headed home at 3-5.
Rio Grande forced extra innings in game one by scoring on a two-out RBI triple off the bat of senior Kent Reeser (Miamisburg, OH) in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Campbellsville put a runner at third with just one out in the eighth inning, but graduate senior Zach Kendall (Troy, OH) induced back-to-back groundouts to keep the would-be go-ahead run from crossing.
The RedStorm won the game in the bottom of the eighth when senior Jesse Watson (Las Cruces, NM) led off with a double, was bunted to third by fellow senior Juan Familia (Reading, PA) and scored on freshman Trey Carter’s (Wheelersburg, OH) soft line drive single to center field.
Kendall earned the win by tossing 2-2/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief. Senior Trey Meade (Seaman, OH) started and had his own solid outing, allowing two hits and two runs over 5-1/3 innings.
Reeser, Watson and Carter all finished with two hits and a run batted in for Rio.
Korren Thompson, the last of three Campbellsville pitchers, took the loss.
Noah Amenta drove in both of the Tigers’ runs, while Tommy Sepulveda had two of the team’s three hits.
Rio Grande looked to be on its way to a sweep of the doubleheader after scoring twice in both the third and fourth innings to take a 6-3 lead.
But then came the nightmarish top of the fifth inning.
Campbellsville parlayed eight hits, two RedStorm errors, two hit batsmen and six walks into 13 runs. Tyler Cox batted three times in the inning and four Rio pitchers combined to throw 77 pitches in the frame.
Rio Grande then went down in order in the bottom of the inning and the game was called for darkness.
Sepulveda and Cox had three hits each for CU, while Amenta, Anthony Marcano and Matt Lawson all had two hits each. Bryan Javier drove in three runs in the winning effort, while Sepulveda, Eddy Arteaga and Amenta all had two RBI.
DeShawn Welch was the beneficiary of the big inning and earned the win, despite allowing three hits and two runs in his only inning of work.
Sophomore Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) homered and drove in three runs for Rio Grande, while Reeser had a double and a run batted in.
Freshman Lane Mettler (Bainbridge, OH), the fourth of six RedStorm pitchers, suffered the loss after failing to record an out in the fifth inning and allowing five of the 13 runs.
Rio Grande will return to action this weekend when it hosts Point Park University in a River States Conference series. In an effort to avoid inclement weather, the series has been shifted to a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon, with another twinbill on Sunday starting at noon.
The back end of Sunday’s twinbill will serve as a non-conference game.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.