RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Point Park University’s Ed Pfluger hit a tie-breaking two-run home run in the seventh inning and the Pioneers added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning for an 8-4 win over the University of Rio Grande, Sunday afternoon, in River States Conference baseball action at Bob Evans Field.
The victory gave Point Park a win of the three-game weekend series as well after the Pioneers posted a 5-2 win in Saturday’s back end of a doubleheader which was suspended by darkness after eight innings and resumed prior to Sunday’s regularly scheduled contest.
Point Park finished the weekend at 10-7 overall and 3-3 in conference play.
Rio Grande slipped to 8-16 overall and 1-5 inside the RSC.
The RedStorm trailed 4-0 after four innings in Sunday’s regularly scheduled game, but forged a tie by scoring twice in both the fifth and sixth innings against PPU starter Marco Quintanar. Sophomore Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) drove in a fifth inning run with on a fielder’s choice grounder to second, while senior Caden Cluxton (Washington Court House, OH) did the same one inning later. The other runs in each inning crossed as a result of a throwing error.
Rio senior starting pitcher Trey Meade (Seaman, OH) was lifted after six solid innings where he allowed just four hits and three earned runs, but freshman Josh Faro (Gallipolis, OH) failed to maintain the tie after taking over on the mound.
Jouseph Renovales greeted Faro with a double down the left field line and Emille Morillo followed with a sacrifice bunt before Pfluger deposited Faro’s first offering over the fence in left for his second home run of the season and a 6-4 Pioneers lead.
PPU added two more markers in the eighth against junior reliever Trenton Gregg (Mount Perry, OH) thanks to a two-out RBI single by Renovales and a run-scoring hit by Morillo.
Renovales, Pfluger and Luis Hernandez all had two hits each for Point Park.
Quintanar picked up the win, allowing seven hits and two earned runs over seven innings. He walked three and fanned six.
Faro took the loss for Rio Grande in his first decision of the season.
Cluxton, senior Kent Reeser (Miamisburg, OH) and freshman Darius Jordan (Minford, OH) had two hits each in the loss for the RedStorm. Jordan’s hit total included a double.
In the conclusion of Saturday’s suspended game, Point Park snapped a 2-2 deadlock with three runs in the ninth inning.
Ty Andrews greeted Rio freshman reliever Lane Mettler (Bainbridge, OH) with a leadoff single and moved to second on a groundout before being lifted for pinch-runner Dylan Winseck. Antonio Carillo following with an RBI single and, one out later, consecutive hits by Danilo Leon and Hernandez plated pinch-runner Edwin De La Rosa.
Rio Grande brought the would-be tying run to the plate against PPU reliever Ruben Ramirez in the bottom of the ninth, but senior Jon Erhard (Newark, OH) flied out to deep center field to end the game.
Renovales and Hernandez each had two hits and an RBI in the win, while Leon finished 2-for-4 and Pfluger drove in two runs.
Nick Beardsley earned the win for the Pioneers, tossing eight innings of four-hit, 11-strikeout ball on Saturday. Ramirez earned a save by retiring the side in the ninth.
Mettler took the loss for Rio Grande, allowing five hits and three runs in 2/3 of an inning.
Surrell and Jordan each had a run batted in for the RedStorm, who were limited to five singles.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action next weekend when it travels to Oakland City, Ind. for a weekend series against RSC newcomer Oakland City University. The two teams are scheduled to play a single game on Friday at 3 p.m. and a doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.