RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande rallied from an early deficit by scoring seven unanswered runs in an 8-3 victory over West Virginia University-Tech in the opening game of a Sunday afternoon River States Conference baseball doubleheader at Bob Evans Field.
The Golden Bears avoided a sweep of the twin bill — and the weekend series — with a 4-2 triumph in the nightcap.
Rio Grande finished the day at 18-30 overall and 11-13 in league play, maintaining a one game lead over Oakland City University for fifth place in the conference standings. The top six teams qualify for the post-season tournament.
WVU-Tech finished the day at 7-26 overall and 4-16 in league play.
Tech led 3-1 entering the bottom half of the fourth inning in game one, but Rio scratched across single markers in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game and scored twice in the sixth to take the lead for good.
A three-run eighth inning by the RedStorm sealed the win.
Senior Jesse Watson (Las Cruces, NM) went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs batted in for Rio, while senior Juan Familia (Reading, PA) was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI. Senior Eli Daniels (Minford, OH) also homered and drove in three.
Graduate senior Zach Kendall (Troy, OH) picked up his eighth win in 11 decisions, allowing seven hits, three walks and all three runs over eight innings. He also fanned 10.
Calyb King started and lost for the Golden Bears, surrendering six hits and five runs over 5-1/3 innings.
Riley Dube hit a solo home run in the loss for Tech.
In game two, the Golden Bears built a 4-0 lead after 4-1/2 innings and then held on down the stretch to get the win.
Rio Grande scored once in each of the final two innings in the seven-inning contest, but left the bases loaded in the sixth and stranded runners at the corners in the seventh.
Daniels finished 2-for-3 with a double and a run batted in, while Familia went 2-for-4 and sophomore Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) added a double.
Junior Cody Gabriel (Upper Sandusky, OH) started and took the loss for the RedStorm, allowing six hits and three runs over 3-1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three.
Wil Mullins picked up his third win of the season for Tech, allowing nine hits and two runs over 6-2/3 innings. Logan McClure recorded the game’s final out for his first save of the season.
Kent Rooklin finished 2-for-2 in the win, while Doug Pollock and Franceso Calderon both had a double.
Rio Grande returns to action on Friday when it begins the final series of the regular season at Indiana University Kokomo.
First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. at Municipal Stadium.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.