The Spring Hill College baseball team opened the 2013 season with a pair of losses in a non-conference doubleheader versus the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) RedStorm by the scores of 2-1 and 4-1 at historic Stan Galle Field on Saturday afternoon.
Rio Grande (2-0) took the first game in an 11-inning marathon that saw the Badgers open the scoring in the 1st inning when shortstop Brooks Bobinger successfully stole home when courtesy runner Blake Toscano drew a throw from RedStorm pitcher Ryan Robertson on a fake steal attempt at 1st base.
Spring Hill starter Casey Adams cruised through the first four innings, but allowed a tying run to score off three consecutive Rio hits to lead off the 5th inning as designated hitter Zach Dumler collected the RBI via a single into right field.
The Badgers dodged a bullet in the 9th inning when RedStorm pinch hitter Tyler Donaldson grounded into a pitcher-to-home-to-1st-base double play that ended a 1-out, bases-loaded threat.
Rio centerfielder Chris Ford drove in the winning run in the 11th frame with a single to center that plated shortstop Isac Franklin from 2nd base.
Johnathan Billings (0-1) took the loss in relief for SHC in seven innings of work allowing seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts while Anthony Bond (1-0) was the winner with an appearance lasting five innings with three hits, a walk and four strikeouts.
Spring Hill (0-2) tried to bounce back in the nightcap, but Rio's Michael Deitsch (1-0) went the distance for a complete-game 4-1 win and allowed just seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
The RedStorm broke open a scoreless game in the 5th inning with a run off a wild pitch by SHC starter Chris Rodriguez (0-1) and then took a 2-0 lead in the 6th frame when Donaldson brought in Ford from 3rd base with a 6-4-3 double play ball to shortstop.
The Badgers answered with a run in the bottom of the 6th when third baseman Willie Floros ripped a triple to the left field wall scoring first baseman John Hollingsworth, but a strikeout and harmless grounder to short would stop the SHC threat. Rio added two insurance runs in the 7th inning off RBI singles by Franklin and first baseman Kyle Findley.
Rodriguez went 4.2 innings with four hits, five walks, three wild pitches and two strikeouts. On offense, Spring Hill was paced by Hollingsworth with four hits in the twin bill and left fielder Garrett Webb who slapped out three singles. Centerfielder Andy Robbins, second baseman Brian Sims and Bobinger each had a pair of hits on the day.
For Rio, Ford was 4-for-7 with an RBI and two doubles while Franklin and right fielder Kirk Yates each had three hits.
The same two teams will meet again on Sunday for another double dip at Stan Galle Field beginning at noon.