ONEIDA, Tenn. — Morgan Santos’ two-out, run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh inning capped a four-run rally and lifted the University of Rio Grande to 6-5 win over Lawrence Tech (Mich.) University, Friday night, in the Bear Creek Classic at a frosty Bear Creek Softball Complex.
The RedStorm improved to 2-4 with the win, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process.
Earlier in the day, Rio dropped a 1-0 decision to Taylor (Ind.) University for its third straight one-run setback.
A fourth straight loss appeared in the offing after Lawrence Tech pushed across a pair of unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-2 lead.
In fact, four of the five runs scored by the Blue Devils were unearned as a result of three Rio Grande errors.
The RedStorm’s late rally began when freshman Chase Arndt (Clyde, OH) led off with a double, sophomore Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) followed with a walk and a wild pitch by LTU pitcher Alexa Cherney sent Arndt to third.
One out later, senior Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH) doubled home Arndt and sophomore Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) followed with a two-run double to knot the score at 5-5.
A wild pitch moved Webb to third and sophomore Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) followed with a walk, before a groundout to third by junior Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) froze Webb at third and allowed Cremeens to advance to second.
Santos, a junior from Dayton, Ohio, followed by hitting Cherney’s first pitch into center field to score Webb with the game-winner.
Santos and Arndt both finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run batted in, while Philen and Webb drove in two runs each.
Junior Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) earned the win in relief, recording three outs in the top of the seventh after the Blue Devils scored their two runs.
Sophomore Viv Capozella started for Rio Grande, allowing seven hits and five runs — one earned — with three walks and two strikeouts over six-plus innings.
Cherney went the distance in the loss for Lawrence Tech, allowing eight hits. She also walked three and fanned seven.
Haley Mazon had two hits and drove in a run for the Blue Devils (1-1), while Gina Barber, Callie Tatum and Jackie Mattingly also had an RBI each.
Friday’s opener was a pitcher’s duel between Hastings and Taylor starter Maddie Evans.
Hastings suffered the loss despite allowing just two hits and an unearned run over six innings. She walked one and struck out three.
Evans walked six, but allowed just one hit and struck out 10 in a shutout effort.
The game’s lone run came in the home fourth when Taylor parlayed a pair of Rio errors — both on dropped flyballs — into an unearned marker.
Emma West had both of the Trojans’ two hits, including a double.
Philen accounted for Rio’s lone hit with a first inning single.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday and will face Grace (Ind.) College at 2 p.m. and Thomas More (Ky.) at 4 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.