CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — David Rodriguez hit a go-ahead RBI single to cap a two-run seventh inning rally and lift the University of Rio Grande to a 4-3 game two win over Campbellsville University, Wednesday night, in non-conference baseball action at HIG Field.
The RedStorm’s come-from-behind win came on the heels of a 17-10 shellacking by the Tigers in the opening game.
Rio Grande finished the day at 27-15 with the split.
Campbellsville, which like the RedStorm was among the schools receiving votes in the latest NAIA coaches’ Top 25 poll, moved to 20-14.
The Tigers erased an early 1-0 deficit in the nightcap by plating three runs in the fourth inning, but the RedStorm roared back against their former Mid-South Conference rival by scoring once in the fifth inning before regaining the lead for good in the seventh.
Junior Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and moved to third moments later on a single to right by junior Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH).
Freshman Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) followed with an infield to shortstop which allowed Cluxton to score the tying run, while Rodriguez – a senior from Santo Domingo, D.R. – brought home Shockley with the go-ahead marker by lining an 0-2 pitch into left-center field.
Shockley took over on the mound in the bottom of the inning and retired the side in order for his sixth save of the season.
Freshman reliever Victor Feliz (Santo Domingo, D.R.) picked up the win in his first collegiate decision, allowing two hits and striking out five over two shutout innings.
Surrell and Rodriguez both finished with two hits in the win, while senior Michael Rodriguez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) drove in two runs and the duo of senior Roanderson Severino (Reading, PA) and junior Eli Daniels (Minford, OH) each had a double.
Gage O’Brien, the last of five Campbellsville pitchers, took the loss.
Chris Taitague had two hits in the loss for the Tigers, while Adbiel Morales added a two-run triple in the CU’s three-run fourth inning.
The opening game provided significantly less drama.
Rio Grande got RBI singles from Shockley and Surrell in the third inning to help the RedStorm erase an early 1-0 deficit, but the Tigers blew things wide open by scoring four times in the bottom of the inning and eight times in the fifth to take a 13-2 advantage.
Rio got two of the runs back in the fifth on a two-run single by David Rodriguez, but Campbellsville countered with four more runs in the home half of the frame to push the lead to 17-4.
The RedStorm made the final score a bit more respectable by scoring six times in their final at bat.
David Rodriguez, Michael Rodriguez and junior Kent Reeser (Miamisburg, OH) all drove in two runs each, while freshman Gustavo Nava (Barranquilla, Columbia) had two hits and a run batted in. Reeser’s hit total included a triple, while Michael Rodriguez had a double.
Cluxton also had two hits in a losing cause, while sophomore Trey Pickens (Racine, OH) added a run-scoring double.
Sophomore starter Caine Whitney (Newark, OH), one of five Rio pitchers in the contest, took the loss. The right-hander allowed seven hits and five runs – three earned – over three innings, while walking three and striking out two.
Aaron Hutchinson started and got the win for the Tigers despite allowing five hits and four runs over five innings.
Taitague went 3-for-5 with a double a four RBI to pace the Campbellsville offensive onslaught, while Tommy Sepulveda finished 3-for-5 with a triple and two runs batted in. Marco Murillo also had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run.
Morales tripled, doubled and drove in three runs in the victory, while Tyler Deason had two hits, including a three-run home run, and Tony Fonzo finished 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Friday afternoon when it opens a River States Conference weekend series at Ohio Christian University. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. in Circleville.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.