MIDWAY, Ky. — The University of Rio Grande scored three times in the top of the ninth inning to erase a one-run deficit, but surrendered all of the runs back in the bottom of inning as Midway University posted a 6-5 win over the RedStorm, Friday afternoon, in the River States Conference baseball opener for both schools at Tracy Farmer-Don Ball Stadium and Dick Robinson Field.
The RedStorm dropped to 8-12 overall with a third consecutive loss.
Midway upped its season mark to 3-12 as a result of the walk-off victory.
The Eagles carried a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning after scoring once in the second and twice in the sixth, but Rio rallied for two runs in the seventh thanks to an RBI single by junior Gavin Lovesky (Willowbrook, IL) and run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder by sophomore Seth Mills (South Shore, KY), thus setting the stage for the dramatic final frame.
Lovesky was hit by a pitch with one out in the Rio Grande ninth and moved to second when freshman Brady Conley (Westerville, OH) reached on an error. Freshman Mitch Santino (Lancaster, OH) then came on to run for Lovesky, while sophomore Josh Wolfe (Hillsboro, OH) was summoned off the bench to pinch-hit.
Wolfe delivered a game-tying single to left-center and, when the ball was booted for an error, Conley continued around with the go-ahead run.
Freshman Mattox Mead (New Albany, OH) entered the game as a pinch-runner for Wolfe and moved to third when sophomore pinch-hitter Jakob Johnson (Pickerington, OH) reached on an infield single. Junior Clayton Surrell (Carroll, OH) followed with a sacrifice fly to score Mead and make it 5-3.
But the lead didn’t last long once the Eagles got their turn at the dish in the home ninth.
Sophomore Reid Shultz (Minford, OH), the second of three Rio pitchers, hit Grant Hotchkiss to begin the inning and Hotchkiss promptly stole second. Max Hill then walked and Ryan Davis followed with a single up the middle to to make it 5-4 and put the would-be tying run into scoring position.
Sophomore Victor Tyo (Grove City, OH) was brought on in relief of Shultz and gave up a run-scoring double to Josh Halterman which advanced the winning run to third base.
Cameron Nichols was intentionally walked to set up a force play at any base and Nick Eastham struck out swinging for the first hit of the inning, but Preston Howard followed with a single to right-center to score Davis with the game-winner.
Skyler Lucas finished 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead Midway, while Davis and Halterman each added two hits and an RBI of their own.
Conley finished 3-for-4 in the loss for the RedStorm, while freshman Nathan McVaigh (Evansville, IN) was 2-for-3.
Sophomore Trey Carter (Wheelersburg, OH) started and went seven innings, though he didn’t figure into the decision. The left-hander allowed five hits and walked six, but gave up just one earned run.
Shultz took the loss, allowing a hit, a walk and three runs in one inning.
Josh Plasencia got the win for Midway, despite allowing three runs over three innings of relief.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.