JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Zach Kendall tossed a complete game three-hitter, while Clayton Surrell had three hits and drove in three runs to lead the University of Rio Grande in an 8-1 win over Thomas More University, Thursday afternoon, in Milligan University’s “Clash of the Conferences” at TVA Credit Union Ballpark.
The RedStorm dropped a 10-5 decision to the host Buffaloes in Thursday’s nightcap, slipping to 2-4 on the season.
Kendall, a graduate senior from Troy, Ohio, picked up his second win in as many decisions, walking just one and striking out four. The right-hander’s only real blemish was a trio of hit batsmen.
Surrell, a sophomore from Carroll, Ohio, broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the top of the third inning and tacked on a two-run single as Rio nailed down the win with a four-run sixth inning.
Senior Jesse Watson (Las Cruces, NM) also had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run for the RedStorm, while freshman Trey Carter (Wheelersburg, OH) went 2-for-4 and senior Kent Reeser (Miamisburg, OH) added a double and a run batted in.
Derek Atwood tripled and Brett Berzinger drove in the lone run for the Saints (0-2).
Michael Grogan started and took the loss for TMU, allowing four hits and three runs over four innings.
In game two, Rio Grande grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top half of the third inning, but Milligan (3-1) got one of the runs back in the home half of the frame and took the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The RedStorm pulled to within 6-5 after scoring three times in the top of the sixth inning, but the Buffaloes scored four times in the home sixth to put down the rally once and for all.
Surrell had two hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs for Rio, while Reeser added two hits of his own, including a double. Senior Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) and freshman Zach Price (Delaware, OH) drove in one run each in a losing cause.
Junior left-hander Cody Gabriel (Upper Sandusky, OH) started and took the loss for the RedStorm, allowing five hits and as many runs over four innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Coby Allison started and was credited with the win for Milligan, allowing five hits and two runs over four innings. He walked just one and fanned six.
Brian Baxa allowed a hit and fanned three over 1-1/3 innings to earn a save.
Justin Greene led the Buffaloes at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run batted in. Braden Spano tripled, doubled and drove in a pair of runs, while Anthony Guzman doubled and had two RBI.
Ben Grable also drove in two runs for Milligan.
Rio Grande will face the same two teams in Friday’s conclusion of the two-day event.
The RedStorm will face Thomas More at 1 p.m. and Milligan at 4 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.