RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande rallied for a game one win, while Raelynn Hastings tossed a two-hit shutout in the nightcap as the RedStorm posted a doubleheader sweep of Ohio Christian University, Friday afternoon, in River States Conference softball action at Rio Softball Park.
Head coach Chris Hammond’s squad rebounded from a three-run deficit to post a 5-4 win in the opener before recording a 7-0 triumph in the nightcap.
Rio Grande improved to 15-9 overall and 6-0 in league play, maintaining a one-game lead over Indiana University Southeast in the RSC standings in the process.
Ohio Christian slipped to 10-8 overall and 0-2 in conference play with the loss.
The games were originally scheduled to be played in Circleville, Ohio, but were moved to Rio Grande after Thursday night rains left OCU’s field unplayable.
Rio took a 1-0 lead in the opener on a first inning home run by freshman Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH), but the Trailblazers scored twice in the second inning and twice more in the fourth to take a 4-1 advantage.
An RBI single by sophomore Mary Pica (Minford, OH) in the home fourth pulled the RedStorm to within 4-2, while a run-scoring triple in the fifth by junior Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) and a subsequent RBI groundout tied the game at 4-all.
Rio Grande completed its comeback in the bottom of the seventh when a grounder back to the mound by Criner was errored, freshman Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) and Cremeens reached on consecutive bunt singles to load the bases and senior Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) lined a walk-off single to left field.
Cremeens, Pica, sophomore Morgan Santos (Dayton, OH) and junior Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH) all had two hits in the win, while freshman Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) added a double.
Freshman Nicole Brown (Amelia, OH) picked up the win in relief, allowing four hits and two runs over five innings.
Tayler Clark suffered the loss in relief after taking over in the seventh inning and failing to record an out.
Destiny Alderman went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI in the loss for OCU, while Lauryn Rutan and Casie Woodgeard also had two hits each and Clark drove in a run.
In the nightcap, Hastings – a sophomore from Commercial Point, Ohio – was masterful, allowing a pair of singles and two walks in a complete game effort. She struck out three.
Rio scored once in each of the first two innings, twice in the third and three times in the sixth to finish things off.
Webb drove in two runs, while Criner, Pica and senior Carly Skeese (Newark, OH) all had doubles.
Clark went the distance in suffering the loss for the Blazers, although only two of the seven runs she allowed were earned as a result of four OCU errors.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.