RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The same formula that worked for the University of Rio Grande in a doubleheader sweep of Carlow University on Thursday evening — a decisive game one victory and a walk-off win in game two — worked a second time against West Virginia University-Tech on Friday afternoon.
The RedStorm parlayed a quick start and strong pitching from Raelynn Hastings for a 6-0 triumph in the opener, while freshman Sydney Campolo’s solid effort in the circle and a walk-off single by Morgan Santos produced a 2-1 victory in the nightcap at Rio Softball Park.
Rio Grande improved to 19-10 overall and 4-0 in River States Conference play as a result of the sweep.
The Golden Bears finished the day at 6-10 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Rio Grande scored four times in the first inning of the opener thanks to an RBI double by junior Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH), a run-scoring single by junior Zoe Doll (Minford, OH) and a two-run double by junior Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH).
That was more than enough for Hastings.
The senior right-hander from Commercial Point, Ohio allowed just two hits and a walk in a complete game shutout, while equaling a career-high set earlier this season with 11 strikeouts and retiring the final 14 batters she faced.
Hastings leads the RSC in earned run average (1.34), opponents batting average (.216) and hits allowed per game (5.92) and is second in the league in wins (10), yet has failed to garner an RSC Pitcher of the Week honor this season.
Webb and Cremeens both finished with two hits, while freshman Caitlyn Brisker (Oak Hill, OH) added a double in the winning effort.
Tech’s Taylor Dickerson, the league’s Pitcher of the Week two weeks ago, started and took the loss after allowing seven hits and five runs over three innings.
Nicole Kester had a double for the Golden Bears.
Game two was a pitcher’s duel between Campolo — a native of New Lexington, Ohio — and WVU-Tech’s Courtney Miles. The duo traded zeroes for four innings until both allowed a single run in the fifth.
The Golden Bears scored their run thanks to a leadoff double by Miles and a two-out double by Kester, while Rio got its marker on a one-out single by Brisker, a stolen base and a double by Webb.
Campolo pitched out of trouble in the seventh inning after Tech put a runner at third with two outs, but the threat died when MaKenzie Holley grounded out to third.
Miles wasn’t so fortunate in the bottom of the frame.
Junior Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) led off with a walk and moved to second a sacrifice bunt by Brisker before Webb drew an unintentional intentional walk. One out later, Santos — a senior from Dayton, Ohio — singled to left and Schmitt beat the throw home to score the winning run.
Brisker finished 3-for-3 in the win, while Santos added two hits.
Campolo allowed six hits and the one run while walking none and striking out 10.
Kester had two hits in the loss for WVU-Tech, while Mackenzie Seirsma added a double of her own.
Miles allowed seven hits and three walks, while fanning four over 6-2/3 innings.
Rio Grande returns to action next Wednesday when the two teams meeting again at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, W.Va.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.