TIFFIN, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande jumped to an early lead and then held on down the stretch for a 7-4 game one win over Heidelberg University, Wednesday afternoon, in non-conference softball action at Frann’s Field.
The host Student Princes rallied for a 4-3 win in the nightcap.
Rio Grande moved to 30-12 as a result of the split.
Heidelberg, a member of the NCAA Division III Ohio Athletic Conference, finished the day at 13-21.
In the RedStorm’s game one victory, Rio scored in each of its first four at bats to take a 5-0 lead and then added a pair of insurance markers in the seventh inning to push its cushion to 7-0.
Heidelberg made things interesting by scoring four times in the home half of the seventh and the game ended with the potential tying run in the on-deck circle.
Junior Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) hit a leadoff home run to give Rio a lead it would never relinquish, while also adding a run-scoring triple – her national-best ninth three-base hit of the season.
Freshman Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) finished 3-for-4 with a double and a run batted in, while freshman Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) added an RBI triple of her own in the winning effort.
Senior Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) improved to 13-4 on the season, allowing three hits and fanning six over six shutout innings.
The Student Princes scored four unearned runs in the seventh inning, three of which came on a home run by Kaitlyn Moore.
Morgan Daniels started and took the loss for Heidelberg, allowing six hits and five runs over 3-1/3 innings.
Rio Grande also jumped to a lead in game two, scoring once in the second and twice in the third to grab a 3-0 advantage.
Heidelberg rallied, though, pushing across two runs in the home third and then taking the lead for good on a two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning by Raye Hammond, the daughter of Rio head coach Chris Hammond.
The RedStorm outhit their hosts, 9-5, but failed to take advantage of three scoring additional scoring chances by leaving the bases loaded in both the second and fifth innings and stranding a pair of runners in the third inning.
Webb, Conkey and sophomore Mary Pica (Minford, OH) all had two hits in a losing cause, while sophomore Aubrey Azbill (Miamisburg, OH) drove in a pair of runs. Webb and Pica each had a double.
Sophomore Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) started and was the hard-luck loser for Rio, allowing five hits and all four runs – only two of which were earned – in a complete game effort.
Stephanie Drapp doubled and drove in a run for Heidelberg, while Erica Leber also drove in a run.
Moore earned the win in relief of Drapp, allowing a walk and striking out three over three scoreless innings.
Rio Grande is scheduled to wrap up its regular season schedule on Saturday with a doubleheader against Carlow University.
First pitch is set for 11 a.m. in Kennedy Township, Pa.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.