COLUMBIA, Ky. — Lindsey Wilson College withstood a pair of late-game rallies in both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader and the 12th-ranked Blue Raiders held on to post a sweep of the University of Rio Grande, 5-4 and 3-1, in Mid-South Conference baseball action at Egnew Park.
Lindsey Wilson improved to 12-5 overall and 4-1 in the MSC with the wins.
Rio Grande fell to 10-9 overall and 1-4 in league play.
The RedStorm trailed 5-3 going to the ninth inning of the opener, but managed to make the Blue Raiders sweat out a major Rio scoring threat.
Sophomore Isac Franklin struck out to open the ninth against Lindsey Wilson starter Chris Erker, but reached safely thanks to a passed ball by catcher Trey Davis. After sophomore Kyle Findley narrowly missed tying the game with a flyout to deep right-center, sophomore Grant Tamane singled and junior pinch-hitter Andy Mitroff greeted reliever Daniel Pulliam with a grounder to shortstop that was bobbled for an error to load the bases.
Sophomore pinch-hitter Tyler Donaldson was hit by a pitch to force in a run, but the game ended moments later in bizarre fashion when, on the same play, Tamane was picked off third and Mitroff was caught stealing when senior Kyle Perez failed to make contact with the ball on a squeeze bunt attempt.
The RedStorm took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on the fifth home run of the season by senior Shane Spies, but the Blue Raiders tied it in the second when Mitchell Osnowitz led off with a solo home run against Rio senior starter Ryan Robertson.
Rio went back in front in the third on a sacrifice fly by freshman Chris Ford before Lindsey Wilson grabbed the lead for good in the fifth as a result of a two-out, three-run home run by Jeff Kerian.
A throwing error by the Blue Raiders – one of five LWC miscues in game one – allowed Rio Grande to get within 4-3 in the sixth inning, but an RBI single by Michael Rosario in the seventh gave Lindsey Wilson a 5-3 lead and set up the nail-biting finish.
Tamane had two of Rio’s six hits in the loss, including a double, while Robertson (2-2) allowed 13 hits and five runs – four earned – in a route-going performance on the hill.
Manuel Alonso went 4-for-4 and Leandro Perez had three hits for the Blue Raiders, while Kerian and Rosario had two hits each. Erker improved to 4-0 with the win, while Pulliam earned his first save.
In game two, Lindsey Wilson pushed across a run in the second on a hit by Rosario and added a two-run single by Kerian in the fourth but had to endure some tense moments in the Rio seventh to complete the sweep.
Donaldson led off the Rio seventh with a pinch-hit bunt single and sophomore Luke Taylor (Pedro, OH) followed with a double down the left field line to bring the potential tying run to the plate. Perez then struck out looking before Ford plated Donaldson with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 3-1.
The comeback – and the game – ended moments later when Tamane grounded out to shortstop.
Tamane finished with two hits in the loss, while freshman Kyle Miller suffered his first loss of the season in four decisions. The left-hander allowed 10 hits and three runs – all earned – while walking one and striking out three.
Davis went 3-for-3 for LWC, while Kerian and Jeandro Andino had two hits each.
Darren Travers (4-0) went the distance to get the win for the Blue Raiders. In addition to the eight hits, he did not walk a batter and struck out five.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Tuesday in a non-conference twinbill at Glenville State College. First pitch for Game 1 is set for 1 p.m.
The RedStorm swept a doubleheader from the Pioneers last Thursday in Chillicothe.