RIO GRANDE, Ohio - After failing to maintain a lead late in the first game of its doubleheader with the University of Pikeville, the University of Rio Grande made an early advantage in game two stand up and the RedStorm recorded a split with the Bears, Thursday afternoon, in Mid-South Conference action at Rio Softball Park.
Sophomore Jessi Robinson had three hits and drove in two runs, while senior Katie Fuller went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and senior Kaylee Walk added a pair of hits and three runs scored to fuel a 6-2 game two win for Rio.
In game one, Pikeville scored five times in the seventh inning of the opener to rally for a 7-6 win.
Rio Grande finished the day at 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the MSC, while the Bears moved to 3-6 overall and 3-3 in league play.
Pikeville committed three errors in the nightcap which resulted in all but two of the RedStorm’s runs being unearned.
Rio took a 1-0 first inning lead against UPike starter Courtney Patrick when Walk reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on a single by Robinson and scored on a base hit by Fuller.
Robinson and Fuller added run-scoring hits in the third and freshman Kim Rollins added a sacrifice fly in the third inning to make it 4-0.
Freshman Kimber Hazlett tacked on an RBI single in the fifth and Walk scored after opening the sixth with a triple on a single by Robinson.
The Bears avoided a shutout on a two-out, two-run single in the seventh by Courtney Morgan.
Hazlett allowed five hits and two runs in a complete game performance in the circle, striking out three and walking one.
Sophomore Haley Gwin also had two hits in the win for Rio Grande.
Patrick suffered her first loss in two decisions for the Bears, allowing 11 hits and a walk in six innings.
In the opening game, the RedStorm spotted their guests an early 2-0 lead before reeling off six straight runs to take control.
Courtney Morgan had a two-run single for UPike in the top of the second, but Rio rallied for four runs in the bottom half of the frame on a two-run double by freshman Claudia Farney and a two-run single by Robinson.
Gwin added a two-run single in the home sixth to give the RedStorm a 6-2 lead and set the stage for the Bears’ seventh inning comeback.
Morgan opened the inning with a walk and, one out later, took second on a passed ball. Brandi Jo Howard drew a walk and Logan Cline was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Hollie Hinkle was then hit by a pitch to force in a run, Emily Castle had an infield single to plate another run and Kayla Morgan followed with a two-run single to tie the game. Jordyn Hale singled moments later to plate the go-ahead run.
Rio put runners at first and second in the bottom of the seventh, but Kayla Morgan retired the next three batters routinely to seal the victory.
Castle finished 4-for-4 in the win, while Kayla Morgan and Courtney Morgan both had two hits and two RBIs.
Walk went 3-for-5, while Fuller, Hazlett and Gwin added two hits each in the loss for the RedStorm.
Rio is scheduled to return to action, weather permitting, on Saturday when Cumberland (Tenn.) University visits for a 12 p.m. MSC twinbill.