Rio baseball divides pair with UPike

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Five University of Rio Grande pitchers combined on a four-hitter and the RedStorm rebounded from a game one thrashing to defeat the University of Pikeville, 3-1, in the back end of their Tuesday afternoon non-conference baseball doubleheader at Johnnie Lemaster Field.

The host Bears rolled to a mercy rule-shortened 16-3 triumph over the RedStorm in the opening game of the twin bill.

Rio Grande stopped an eight-game losing slide with the game two victory, improving its overall record to 5-12.

UPike finished the day at 6-7 with the split.

Junior Dalton Wilburn (Ashville, OH), freshman Quincy Rhodes (Whitehouse, OH), senior Jacob Hastings (Commercial Point, OH), junior Zac Morris (Heath, OH) and freshman Caleb Fetzer (Van Wert, OH) teamed to scatter three singles, a double and three walks en route to the game two win.

The quintet also combined for six strikeouts, with Wilburn starting and working two scoreless frames for his second win in three decisions.

Fetzer recorded the final four outs to earn his first save.

Rio inflicted all the offensive damage it needed against UPike starter Charlie Cokely in the first inning.

Senior Juan Cruz (Juana Diaz, P.R.) was hit by a pitch to begin the game, moved to second one out later when sophomore Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH) was also hit by a pitch and scored on a single to right by junior David Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.).

Junior Michael Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) followed with a sacrifice fly to left which plated junior Matt Joyce (Minford, OH), who was running for Shockley, to make it 2-0.

That’s how things stayed until the top of the sixth when senior Ty Warnimont (Rio Grande, OH) reached on a one-out infield single, moved to second on a two-out walk to sophomore Eli Daniels (Minford, OH) and scored on a single to left by sophomore Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH).

The Bears scored their only marker in the home half of the inning when Nelson Muniz touched up Hastings for a two-out double and rode home on a single to right by Matt Peterson.

UPike went on to load the bases when Morris walked Brandon Sewell and Fetzer walked Jay Vincent, but Brendan Halstrom struck out to end the threat.

Fetzer then sealed the win by retiring the Bears in order in the bottom of the seventh.

Cruz finished 3-for-3 in the win for Rio.

Muniz had two of Pikeville’s hits in the loss.

Game one was a blowout from the get-go, as UPike followed up a seven-run first inning explosion with eight second inning markers for a 15-0 lead.

Rio Grande got a two-run home run by Daniels in the third inning, but the Bears got one of the runs back in the home half of the frame to take a 16-2 lead.

The RedStorm set the final score with a run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Morris in the top of the sixth inning.

Sophomor Trey Meade (Seaman, OH) started and took the loss for Rio Grande, which had only three hits in the contest.

Muniz homered and drove in three runs for UPike, while Peterson had two hits and two RBI and Luke Hartlage had a pair of doubles and three RBI.

Vincent, Lucas Bault and Shane Williams all had two hits and a run batted in for the Bears, while Ean Walda started and picked up the win after allowing three hits and two runs over 5-1/3 innings.

Rio Grande is scheduled to open the home portion of its schedule — and River States Conference play — on Friday against Ohio Christian University.

First pitch for the series opener is set for 2 p.m.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.