LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — The University of Rio Grande scored four times in the third inning and seven times in the fifth inning en route to an 11-3 mercy rule-shortened victory over Bluefield (Va.) College as part of the Grizzly Open hosted by Georgia Gwinnett College, Saturday morning, at the Grizzly Softball Complex.
The RedStorm finished the day by falling to the host Grizzlies, 13-5 in six innings and finished their season-opening weekend at 2-2.
Junior Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) went 3-for-4 with three triples and two runs batted in, while sophomore Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) had two hits and two RBI and sophomore Morgan Santos (Dayton, OH) finished with two hits and a run batted in.
Sophomore Mary Pica (Minford, OH) added two hits of her own, including a double, while senior Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH) doubled and drove in two runs and junior Brooke Hoffman (Columbus Grove, OH) drove in a run.
Sophomore Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) started and got the win for Rio, allowing five hits and a pair of earned runs over five innings. She walked two and struck out four.
Rio’s four-run third erased an early 1-0 deficit and, after the Rams scored twice in the top of the fifth to draw within 4-3, the RedStorm invoked the eight-run mercy rule with the seven-run fifth.
Veronica Casanova drove in a pair of runs for Bluefield, while Laken Sparks started and took the loss for the Rams.
In game two, the RedStorm jumped to a 5-3 second inning lead against No. 5-ranked Georgia Gwinnett, but the Grizzlies countered with eight unanswered runs to force the mercy rule.
Conkey and Santos had run-scoring hits in a three-run first inning for the RedStorm while, Pica had a two-run single in the second inning to send Rio in front again after the Grizzlies scored three times in the home half of the first to tie the game.
Gwinnett took the lead with five runs in the bottom of the second and then finished things off with a four-run fifth inning and a final marker in the sixth inning.
Criner finished 2-for-4, while Conkey and junior Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH) both had doubles in a losing cause.
Freshman Nicole Brown (Amelia, OH) started and took the loss for Rio Grande.
Tori Robinson had three hits, including a triple and a double, and drove in four runs to lead Georgia Gwinnett, while Piper Wagner went 2-for-3 with a double and a run batted in.
Sydney Pelaez added two hits and a run batted in to the winning effort, while Holly Janco went 2-for-4 with a double and Sydney Willhite drove in a pair of runs.
Taylor Hansis earned the win in relief for the Grizzlies, allowing two hits over three scoreless innings.
Rio Grande returns to action next Friday at Milligan (Tenn.) College. First pitch for the opening game of their doubleheader is set for 1 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.