RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Good teams, more often than not, are the hardest ones to put away.
If the University of Rio Grande didn’t know that to be true prior to Saturday afternoon’s meeting with 17th-ranked Indiana University Southeast, they certainly do now.
The Grenadiers rallied from 8-2 deficit after four innings, pushing across a pair of unearned markers in the 12th inning to defeat the RedStorm, 10-8, in River States Conference play at snowy Bob Evans Field.
IU Southeast improved to 19-9 overall and 8-1 against conference foes with the win.
Rio Grande, which dealt the Grenadiers their first RSC loss on Friday before dropping a one-run decision in the nightcap of their doubleheader, fell to 12-24 overall and 3-9 in league play with the loss.
The RedStorm appeared on their way to posting a series win after scoring twice in the first inning, four times in the second and once in both the third and fourth frames to open up an 8-2 lead.
But the guests roared back, scoring four times in the fifth and twice in the sixth to knot the score at 8-all.
That’s how things stayed until the 12th.
John Ullom reached on an error to begin the inning and scored moments later on a double to left-center by Clay Woeste. A sacrifice bunt by Trevor Campbell moved Woeste to third and a sacrifice fly by Brody Tanksley plated the insurance run.
Rio Grande tried to make things interesting in the bottom of the 12th when junior Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) drew a two-out walk and sophomore pinch-hitter Seth Mills (South Shore, KY) was hit by a pitch, but sophomore Jakob Johnson (Pickerington, OH) — representing the winning run — grounded out to first base to end the game.
Sophomore Darius Jordan (Minford, OH) led Rio Grande offensively, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and four runs batted in.
Freshman Brady Conley (Westerville, OH) also had three hits in a losing cause, while fellow frosh Cole Brennan (Anderson, OH) had two RBI.
Sophomore Lane Mettler (Bainbridge, OH) — the seventh of eight Rio pitchers in the four-hour, 35-minute marathon — suffered the loss.
Gavin Knust, the last of four IUS hurlers, earned his second win in as many decisions this season with 4-2/3 innings of one-hit, shutout relief. He also walked two and fanned six in his stint on the mound.
Ray Aponte hit a pair of home runs and drove in three for the Grenadiers, while Woeste, Tanksley and Marco Romero also had two hits each in the win.
Romero, whose hit total included a double, drove in two runs, while Campbell and Ullom each added a solo home run.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.