Updated Wed, Mar 12, 2014 5:50 pm
The Rio Grande RedStorm (9-11, 2-4) struck first on Wednesday morning and held on to defeat the No. 25 Ave Maria Gyrenes (13-16, 3-9) 3-1 in Babson Park, Fla. The win gives the team their fifth in row.
“We’ve started off slow and we’ve played an extremely competitive schedule,” Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont said. “We have three wins against Florida schools. That’s big for us.”
Kyle Findley led the RedStorm’s attack with two RBI, the first of which came in the first inning. Findley, a junior first baseman, doubled with two outs in the top of the first to drive in Marcus Makuch and put Rio Grande in the lead, 1-0. Findley went 2 for 4 in the game and drove in an insurance run on a well executed hit-and-run in the top of the ninth.
“He’s stepped up,” Warnimont said of Findley. “That was a clutch RBI early. He’s swinging a hot bat right now.”
Anthony Knittel (1-3) pitched a gem on Wednesday to earn his first win of the season. The left-handed junior pitched a complete game, allowing only one run and seven hits with eight strikeouts.
“He threw outstanding.” Warninmont said.”Anthony got better as the game went on. He struck out six from the seventh inning on.”
Designated hitter Daryin Lewis went 3 for 5 in the game and scored in the second inning when shortstop Kevin Arroyo singled to right. Lewis was hitting .350 prior to Wednesday and his stellar game will raise his already high batting average.
Ave Maria’s John Osborne (0-1) dropped his first start of the year allowing two runs in 7.0 innings. No Gyrenes’ batter had more than one hit in the game. Ave Maria’s lone run came on a wild pitch in the sixth inning.
Rio Grande will return to conference play this Friday when it hosts the University of Pikeville for a three-game series.
“We’ve got a strong conference,” Warnimont said. “We need to keep playing at this level to keep our kids’ confidence up as we get into conference play.”