KOKOMO, Ind. — As things turned out, the University of Rio Grande baseball team’s long-awaited start to an important River States Conference series with Indiana University-Kokomo was worth the wait.
Senior right-hander Zach Harvey struck out a career-high 14 batters and became the school’s all-time leader in shutouts as the RedStorm posted a 1-0 win over the Cougars, Saturday night, at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
Rio Grande improved to 31-16 overall and 15-7 in conference play with the victory.
IU Kokomo dropped to 29-14 overall and 15-7 in the RSC with its first home loss in 18 outings this season.
The series opener, which was originally planned for Friday, was pushed back to Saturday due to inclement weather and then was bumped another 2-1/2 hours from its scheduled late afternoon start before finally getting underway.
Harvey, a native of Kenova, W.Va., authored the seventh shutout of his career, breaking the school record of six that he equaled earlier this season and shared with Desmond Sullivan, who originally set the mark over the course of his career from 2008-2011.
Harvey, who retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced, also fanned 14 to surpass his previous career-best mark of 11 set last year against Ohio Christian and equaled earlier this season in a win over Cincinnati Christian on March 15.
Harvey also moved within five strikeouts of equaling Sullivan’s single-season school record of 107 set in 2011, while also earning his 11th win of the season – a mark which ties him with Colton Williams of Science & Arts (Okla.) for the most wins in all of NAIA.
From the outset, Harvey was locked in a pitcher’s duel with IUK starter Owen Callaghan, who allowed just four hits and three walks – while recording 11 strikeouts of his own – over seven innings for just his second loss in six decisions.
The only mistake by Callaghan, who suffered just his second loss in six decisions, was a leadoff home run he served up to Rio junior Dylan Shockley (Minford, OH) in the sixth inning. Shockley accounted for two of the RedStorm’s four hits.
Noah Darr had two of the Cougars’ four hits, while Jared Heard added a double in a losing cause.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.