Chillicothe, OH- Due to predicted stormy weather for Saturday, the baseball team pushed up their doubleheader with the University of Rio Grande to Friday afternoon. The two teams battled in two good games but the home team prevailed in both contests, snapping the Falcons 13-game winning streak, handing them their first losses of the season, 8-4 and 5-1.
Game 1- Senior Zach Leblanc (Salem, MA) got his 6th start of the season in the first game of the day looking for his 6th straight win. The hurler came out strong the first two innings, allowing just a pair of hits and a strikeout, but after Fisher got on the board first in the top half of the 1st on a Jamie Whynot (Bridgewater, Nova Scotia) double, the Red Storm answered in the third. A pair of bunts got two runners on base, and after Fisher catcher Joshua Rogers (Highlands Ranch, CO) threw out a runner trying to advance, Leblanc let up three straight singles plating two runs for the home team. He worked out of the jam after striking out the final batter of the inning. The Falcons responded the next half inning as they plated two runs of their own, grabbing the lead back 3-2. Jonathan Rosado (Bayamon, PR) started the inning with a hit, and then advanced to third on Whynot's hit to center. Rogers knocked Rosado in on a sacrifice fly to left center and moved Braxten Ramirez (Amarillo, TX) over to third. Ramirez scored on the same play on a miscue by Rio's catcher and would head to the bottom of the 4th with the Falcons up 3-2. Errors proved to be costly in the 4th for the Falcons as Rio Grande scored four times on two errors in the inning putting the home team up 6-3 heading to the 5th. The Falcons bats would go quiet for the next three innings would not score again until the 8th. After Rosado flied out to deep left to start the inning, Ismael Perez (Brooklyn, NY) knocked a single to left to get the offense going. After a walk to John Batista (Lawrence, MA) and Rogers was hit by a pitch by Rio's Trey White, it loaded the bases for Sami Bibovic (Brooklyn, NY). Rio's new pitcher, Dylan Shockley, hit Bibovic also, plating Jean Carlos Figueroa (Dorado, PR) who pinch ran for Perez. Shockley got out of the jam as he struck out the last Fisher batter to end the threat. Rio added a pair of insurance runs off of relief pitcher Randolf Flores (Brooklyn, NY) in the bottom of the 8th to give the Storm an 8-4 lead heading into the 9th. A Mitchell Lundholm (Plymouth, MA) single got the offense going, but that's all they could get and would drop game 1, 8-4.
Rosado, Bibovic and Jacob Deziel (Merrimac, MA) all notched two hits a piece in the losing effort. Leblanc took the loss despite giving up just the two earned runs, scattering 10 hits while striking out nine, bringing his season record to 5-1. Rio's Zach Harvey earned his third win of the season, pitching seven strong innings letting up just one earned run for the victory. David Rodriguez went 4 for 5 with 4 RBI's for the home team in the first game.
Game 2- The night cap was less hitting for each team as the two teams combined for 13 hits over seven innings of play. Each team scored in only one inning, with the 5-run third inning for the Storm proving to be the difference.
Similar to the first game, Fisher got on the board first in the top half of the first. Lundholm got it started with a single to left. He moved up on a Rosado ground out, and was plated by Whynot's RBI single to left. The offense stayed hot as Batista and Perez followed suit with singles of their own, but the threat was cut short when Whynot was thrown out at home on a strong throw from Rio's CF Kent Reeser. Jose Galan (Alta, PR) got the start in game two and kept the Storm off the board in the first two innings. However the Storm broke it open in the bottom of the third scoring five times. Coach Scott Dulin pulled Galan after the Storm grabbed three straight hits, a walk, and a hit batter, allowing four Storm runs. Norberto Ceballos (Loiza, PR) entered the game with runners on first and second and limited the damage to just one more run, keeping his team in the game 5-1 after three innings. Rio's Zach Kendall settled in after allowing seven hits in three innings, and did not allow another hit the remainder of the game allowing his team to earn the sweep 5-1.
Perez and Lundholm each had two hits in the night cap, with Whynot earning another RBI in the losing effort. Galan takes the loss for the Falcons, giving up just three hits, but walked three and hit a batter. Rio's Eli Daniels was the only player to notch multiple hits in the night cap, going 2 for 2 with an RBI and a walk.
The two teams will take Saturday off due to the predicted weather and will head back out to VA Memorial Stadium on Sunday for a doubleheader with the action starting at 12pm.