BABSON PARK, Fla. — Eric Ford and Kirk Yates teamed on a five-hitter, while Kevin Arroyo had a two-run single in a three-run third inning as the University of Rio Grande defeated host Webber International, 3-1, Monday afternoon, in non-conference baseball action at Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center Field.
The win was the third straight for the RedStorm, who improved to 7-11 in the first of three games that they’ll play during a brief Spring Break trip to the Sunshine State.
Webber International, a member of the NAIA’s The Sun Conference, slipped to 15-14 with the loss.
Ford, a senior right-hander from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, who was making his first start since recovering surgery which forced him to miss all of the 2013 campaign, allowed three hits, four walks and a run through four innings before giving way to Yates.
Yates, a sophomore right-hander from Chillicothe, Ohio, scattered three hits and a walk, while striking out three over the final five innings to get the win - the first of his collegiate career.
Rio Grande did all of its offensive damage against WIU starter Rob Lane in the second inning.
Freshmen Luis Jimenez (Salinas, Puerto Rico) and Carlos Flores (Guayanilla, P.R.) opened the inning with back-to-back singles, freshman Daryin Lewis (Circleville, OH) bunted both runners into scoring position and Arroyo - a junior from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico - brought both home with a single to right-center to make it 2-0.
Arroyo then moved to third on a flyout to right by senior Marcus Makuch (Baltimore, OH) and rode home on a single to center by junior Grant Tamane (Pickering, Ontario, Canada).
The Warriors got their only run in the bottom of the fourth when Austin Aubuchon reached on a one-out walk, moved to second on a two-out passed ball and scored on back-to-back singles by Dylan Price and Cody Warren. A double-steal then put the tying runs in scoring position, but Ford got Pedro Fernandez on a grounder to shortstop to end the inning.
WIU also put runners at second and third with one out in the fifth against Yates but failed to score and got its leadoff hitter in the ninth on base before a double-play short-circuited any hopes of a late comeback.
Jimenez and junior Kyle Findley (Cincinnati, OH) both went 2-for-4 at the plate for Rio.
Lane suffered the loss for the Warriors and Ramon Sanchez had two hits in a losing cause for Webber.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.