DAYTON, Tenn. — Host Bryan College scored a walk-off win in game one and rode a five-run second inning uprising in the nightcap to a doubleheader sweep of the University of Rio Grande in Friday’s baseball season opener for both schools at Center Field.
The Lions, ranked No. 21 in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll, collected wins in the seven-inning contests by scores of 3-2 and 7-5.
Bryan trailed 2-1 heading to the home half of the seventh inning in the opener when David Scoggins led off with a walk, Darwin Gregg followed with a single and a fielding error on the same play put both runners in scoring position.
Sophomore reliever Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) followed with a strikeout of Danny Marquez before Destine Udombon lined a 2-2 pitch into left field to plate both the tying and winning markers.
Rio Grande took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when freshman Zach Price (Delaware, OH) led off with an infield single and later scored on a passed ball. Senior Kent Reeser (Miamisburg, OH) added a run-scoring single in the frame.
The Lions cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning when Wade Weinburger, Jr. reached on a leadoff walk and eventually rode home on a throwing error while stealing third base.
Surrell, the last of four Rio pitchers, took the loss.
Joseph Cuomo earned the win in relief for Bryan, scattering four hits and the two runs over five innings. He walked one and fanned five.
Rio Grande outhit its host, 6-4, in the loss.
Udombon was the only player for either school with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4.
The RedStorm took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game two thanks to consecutive hits by seniors Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH), Jon Erhard (Newark, OH) and Surrell, but the Lions grabbed a lead they would never relinquish by scoring five times in the second inning against Rio senior starter Trey Meade (Seaman, OH).
Marquez drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, two more scored on a fielder’s choice throwing error and two rode home on a single by Bass Cooper.
Rio Grande made things interesting with single runs in the third and fourth innings thanks to a passed ball in the third and a run-scoring hit by Cluxton in the fourth, but Bryan got one of the runs back in the fifth-inning on a two-out, RBI single by Shawn Bracamontes.
The RedStorm closed the gap to 6-5 thanks to a two-out, two-run single by Surrell, but the Lions again tacked on an insurance marker in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a sacrifice fly by Cooper.
Any hopes of dramatic rally in the seventh by Rio went by the wayside when Jacob Hallmark — the third of three Bryan hurlers — struck out the side to secure the sweep.
Hallmark allowed six hits and three runs over four innings to earn the win, while also striking out five.
Meade took the loss for Rio, allowing two hits and five runs — four earned — over 1-1/3 innings. He also walked three.
Surrell finished 2-for-4 with three RBI in the loss, while Cluxton, freshman Albert Bobadilla (Bronx, NY) and junior Billy Cooper (Jackson, OH) also had two hits apiece. Cluxton’s hit total included a double and Senior Jesse Watson (Las Cruces, NM) also had a two-base hit for the RedStorm.
Bass went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in for Bryan, while Scoggins had two hits, including a double. Tyler Scott also had a double in the win.
The weekend series concludes on Saturday with another seven-inning twin bill. First pitch for game one is slated for a 2 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.