PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Baseball) – In two seven-inning games which each took nearly three hours, the Shawnee State baseball team came away with two victories over the University of Rio Grande, as the Bears offense exploded for 26 runs in 15-6 and 11-8 wins, Tuesday afternoon at Branch Rickey Park.
The Bear offense – which has struggled mightily at times during the season – was wide awake on a blustery day with the wind blowing out at Branch Rickey. In two games, the squad combined for 12 extra-base hits, including five home runs.
The run-scoring parade began in the second when – with the score tied at one – Shears led off with a big fly clearing the batter's eye in center field. Conner Wilson (JR/San Diego, Calif.) followed with an RBI double, and Blake Maines (SO/Burlington, Ky.) scampered home on a wild pitch to make it, 4-1, in favor of the Bears.
Rio Grande tied things up at four in the top of the third, but SSU responded fast and furiously, scoring five more runs in the bottom of the third. With runners on second and third, a misplayed ground ball allowed Andrew Vanthournout (FR/Bowling Green, Ky.) and Alex Shears to score with just one out, chasing Rio starter Ryan Christophel.
Matt Dvorscak (FR/Whiting, Ind.) kept things going with a single, and Maines drew a walk to load the bases. Wilson cleared the full sacks with a double down the left field line, pushing the advantage to 9-4, despite just two hits in the inning.
Following a scoreless fourth – one of just two scoreless complete innings throughout the doubleheader – Rio snuck back in the game with two more runs in the fifth. SSU immediately struck back.
Maines opened the inning with a double, setting up Olivarria's two-run blast, a no-doubter over the right field wall. Wisner added a triple one batter later, and scored on a wild pitch, pushing the score to 12-6. Three more runs in the bottom of the sixth – all coming on a three-run blast from Wisner – capped off the scoring at 15-6.
Tyler Arthur (FR/Morehead, Ky.) earned the victory on the hill for SSU, going four innings, while allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits. Arthur walked two and struck out one. Christophel took the loss for Rio Grande. Olivarria, Brandon Bonar (JR/Chillicothe, Ohio) and Jacob Waters (JR/DeWitt, Mich.) each logged an inning of relief for the Bears in the winning effort.
Following a wild game one, it seemed SSU would run away with game two, jumping out to a 6-0 advantage after two frames. The Bears scored four in the first, beginning with a leadoff double from Mitchell Lendenski (JR/Loveland, Ohio). Lendenski stole third and scored immediately when Wilson singled to right.
Olivarria followed with a single and, following a wild pitch, Wisner knocked in a run with a single. Olivarria scampered home on a wild pitch to the next batter. The final run of the frame came on a fielder's choice RBI from Chase Clary (FR/South Shore, Ky.) to plate Wisner.
Singles from Wisner and Dalton Tinsley (SR/Kokomo, Ind.) made it 6-0 in the second, as Wilson and Olivarria each came around to score.
The RedStorm cut the deficit in half in the top of the fourth, beginning with a one-out solo shot from Kyle Findley. Chris Ford and Carlos Flores followed with singles and an error from Clary brought a run home. A fielder's choice RBI from Rusty Shull made it, 6-3.
The two squads traded runs in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, before SSU added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Lendenski went deep to right-center, plating Vanthournout. SSU added two more in the bottom of the sixth to push the score to 11-5.
Rio scored three runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to three, while putting runners on second and third with two away. Reliever Waters induced a pop-up from Kirk Yates to put the game away, 11-8. Waters earned his first save of the season with the close.
Clay Tefft (FR/Wauseon, Ohio) came out as the victor in game two, going 4.2 innings, allowing just one earned run (four total) on six hits and one walk. Tefft struck out three. Jonathan Brinez took the loss for the RedStorm.
Game one took two hours and 55 minutes despite just six and a half innings being played. Game two took two and a half hours for six and a half innings.