CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande rallied from an early deficit and then held on down the stretch to post a 4-3 win over upset-minded Ohio-Chillicothe in game one of a scheduled doubleheader, Tuesday afternoon, in non-conference baseball action at VA Memorial Stadium.
Game two of the twinbill was postponed as a result of a heavy snow squall which settled over the stadium shortly after the conclusion of the opening game.
Rio Grande, which won for the third straight time after losing five consecutive outings, upped its overall record to 13-17.
OU-Chillicothe dropped to 1-10 with the loss.
The Hilltoppers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning against Rio sophomore starter Kirk Yates (Chillicothe, OH) when Mike Hamilton led off with a triple to right-center and scored on a single to right by Jared Farmer, but the RedStorm finally came off the mat to grab the lead in the top of the fourth.
Senior Marcus Makuch (Baltimore, OH) led off with a double to right-center - Rio’s first hit of the game against OU-C starter C.J. Knight - and junior Kyle Findley (Cincinnati, OH) drew a walk before sophomore Chris Ford (Athens, OH) was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.
Freshman Carlos Flores (Guayanilla, Puerto Rico) then delivered a single to center which plated Makuch and Findley and gave the RedStorm a 2-1 lead.
OU-Chillicothe rebounded to tie the game in the home fourth when Hamilton drew a one-out walk and scored on a triple to center by Farmer, but the RedStorm took the lead for good with single markers in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Junior Kevin Arroyo (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) reached on a two-base throwing error to begin the inning, moved to third on a bunt single by junior Grant Tamane (Pickering, Ontario, Canada) and scored on a wild pitch by OU-C reliever Adam Woods, who came on to record the final out in Rio’s two-run fourth inning rally.
In the sixth, sophomore Jonathan Schob (Decatur, OH) led off with a single to right and was lifted in favor of junior pinch-runner Luke Taylor (Pedro, OH), who moved to third on a pair of groundouts and scored on Woods’ second wild pitch of the game.
Freshman Trent Downs (Kingston, OH) kept OU-C at bay by retiring six of the seven batters he faced over the next two innings in relief of Yates, but the Hilltoppers managed to make things interesting in the seventh and final inning against senior reliever Mike Deitsch (Cincinnati, OH).
Deitsch retired the first two batters he faced in routine fashion, but consecutive singles by Hunter Young, Austin Williams and Ryan O’Leary made it 4-3 and put the would-be tying and winning runs in scoring position.
Ryan Houser was intentionally walked to set up a force at any base before Hamilton routinely flied to right to end the game.
Yates earned his second win in three decisions for Rio, while Deitsch was credited with his first save.
Young and Farmer had two hits each for OU-Chillicothe, while Woods suffered the loss.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Friday when St. Catharine College visits Bob Evans Field for the opening game of a three-game Mid-South Conference weekend series.
First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.