CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — Vince Perry’s two-run, pinch-hit single in the bottom of the seventh inning snapped a scoreless tie and lifted the University of Rio Grande to a 2-1 win over Bluefield (Va.) College, Thursday night, in the Mid-South Conference baseball opener for both teams.
Rio Grande improved to 8-5 overall and 1-0 in the MSC with the win, its second of the year thus far against the Rams. The two teams met earlier this season in a non-conference game as part of the Tennessee Valley Invitational Tournament.
Bluefield slipped to 4-7 overall in dropping its MSC debut.
The Rams got one of the runs back in the top of the eighth against Rio Grande senior starter Ryan Robertson, but sophomore reliever Anthony Bond recorded the final two outs in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to seal the win.
Most of the evening was spent in a pitcher’s duel between Robertson and Bluefield starter Sean Williams.
Robertson blanked the Rams on two hits through the first seven innings, while Williams had surrendered just three hits through six scoreless innings.
However, the RedStorm finally managed a breakthrough in the bottom of the seventh.
Senior Zach Dumler reached on a one-out walk and was replaced on the basepath by sophomore pinch-runner Tyler Donaldson.
Sophomore Grant Tamane followed with a single which moved Donaldson to second and was promptly lifted in favor of sophomore pinch-runner Ethan Abell.
Donaldson and Abell executed a double steal moments later to put both runners in scoring position and Perry came off the bench to deliver his go-ahead single.
The Rams rallied against Robertson in the eight when Jamie Blackwell led off with a single and, one out later, Ryan Foster and Will Simpson drew consecutive walks to load the bases.
Robertson was lifted in favor of Bond, who gave up a run-scoring single to Zac Russell-Myers, but the inning ended moments later when Christian Burton grounded into a 6-4-3 double-play.
Bond struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to record his first save.
Sophomore Isac Franklin had two of Rio Grande’s six hits, including a double.
Robertson improved to 2-1 with the win, allowing three hits, two walks and the run over 7.1 innings. The left-hander also struck out eight.
Williams was the hard luck loser for the Rams, falling to 0-3 on the season. He allowed five hits and the two runs, while walking one and fanning six over seven innings.
Blackwell finished 2-for-3 in the loss and Kaleb Long added a double for BC.