COCHRAN, Ga. — The University of Rio Grande grabbed an early 9-3 lead before adding five insurance runs in the ninth inning to secure a 16-9 triumph over 15th-ranked Middle Georgia State, Saturday afternoon, in non-conference baseball action at Stuckey Field.
The Knights (10-4) rebounded to post a 10-5 win in the nightcap.
The split left Rio Grande with a 4-6 record.
The RedStorm had 15 hits, including six for extra bases, in their victory. Junior David Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) and senior Kameron Herring (Heath, OH) both hit home runs.
Rodriguez’s blast – a three-run circuit clout – came in the first inning and gave Rio a quick 3-0 lead.
The Knights tied the game in the home half of the frame, but the RedStorm tacked on four more runs in the second and a pair of third inning markers to take a 9-3 lead.
Sophomore Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH) had a three-run double to highlight the four-run second, while senior Cody Blackburn (Amanda, OH) had a two-run single in the third.
Middle Georgia State scored twice in the third inning and twice more in the fourth to make it 9-7, before Herring led off the sixth with a solo homer to give Rio a three-run cushion.
The Knights got the run back in the bottom of the sixth on a home run by Dayton Beasley, but a sacrifice fly by Blackburn in the seventh gave the RedStorm an 11-8 cushion.
Rio parlayed a pair of hits and three errors into a five-run ninth inning uprising which sealed the victory.
Sophomore Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH), who finished 4-for-5, had a two-run single in the late rally.
Blackburn finished with three hits in the win, while Shockley, Rodriguez, and senior Juan Cruz (Juana Diaz, P.R.) all had two hits each. Both of Shockley’s hits were doubles, while Cruz and Cluxton also had one double each.
Senior Osvaldo Duran (Guayanilla, P.R.) started and earned the win despite allowing nine hits and eight runs – six earned – over 5-1/3 innings.
Beasley and Jacob Durant both had three hits in the loss for Middle Georgia State, while Zach Cornell and Blake Jackson both had two hits and a run batted in for the Knights. Durant and Mikal Flores both drove in two runs, while Jackson, Cornell and Flores each had a double.
Whit Campbell started and took the loss for the Knights.
In game two, Rio Grande scored twice in each of the first two innings to take a 4-0 lead, but Middle Georgia State scored twice in the bottom of the second, six times in the third and once in the fourth to take control.
Shockley went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI in the loss, while Blackburn and junior Michael Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) drove in one run each.
Junior Zach Harvey (Kenova, WV) started and took the loss for Rio, allowing 11 hits and nine runs over three innings.
Jermaine Little had two hits and drove in three runs for the Knights, while Flores had two hits and two RBI and Jack Bell IV doubled twice and drove in a run.
M.J. Rookard finished 2-for-2 with a home run, while Cornell and Trenton Nash also had two hits each.
Austin Goff started and worked the first six innings to earn the win for Middle Georgia State.
The two teams will close out their weekend series with another doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.
First pitch is set for noon.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.