CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Kaiden Zacharias’s two-out, two-run single capped a three-run seventh inning rally and lifted Asbury University to a 7-5 win over the University of Rio Grande in an elimination game of the River States Conference Baseball Championship, Saturday night, at VA Memorial Stadium.
The third-seeded Eagles (38-11) advanced to play No. 2 seed Point Park University in another elimination contest on Saturday night, with the winner of that game moving on to Monday morning’s championship game against top-seeded Indiana University Southeast.
Rio Grande, the No. 5 seed in the six-team, double-elimination tournament, finished its season at 20-34 with the loss. Both of its losses in the tourney came at the hands of Asbury.
The RedStorm snapped a 4-4 deadlock in the top of the fifth inning when senior Kent Reeser (Miamisburg, OH) led off with a single, moved to second on a single by sophomore Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) and, one out later, scored all the way from second base on a bunt single by freshman Darius Jordan (Minford, OH).
Rio carried that same lead into the home seventh before the Eagles mounted what proved to be their game-winning, two-out rally.
Walker Paris and Paul Haupt had back-to-back one-out singles and a two-out walk to CJ Compton loaded the bases. Matthew Baker drew a walk to force in the tying run, setting the stage for the go-ahead single to right by Zacharias.
Rio Grande was retired in order in the eighth inning, but did get a one-out single in the ninth by senior Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH).
The game ended, though, when Reeser lined out to shortstop and Cluxton was doubled off of first base for the final out.
Reeser finished 4-for-5 with a home run, a double and three runs scored in the loss, while Cluxton had three hits and Jordan finished 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Surrell added two hits of his own for Rio, while senior Juan Familia (Reading, PA) had a double.
Graduate senior Zach Kendall (Troy, OH), who was making his second appearance on the mound in three days after starting the opening round loss on Thursday, suffered the loss for the RedStorm.
The right-hander allowed five hits and three run over five innings in relief of senior starter Trey Meade (Seaman, OH).
Will McDonald got the win in relief for Asbury. He allowed three hits over 3-1/3 scoreless innings.
Trevor Campbell went 3-for-5 with a run batted in for the Eagles, while Paris and Zacharias had two hits each.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.