RIO GRANDE, Ohio - The University of Rio Grande opens the Mid-South Conference portion of its 2013 baseball schedule on Thursday evening when it hosts Bluefield (Va.) College in the opening game of a three-game series at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
Thursday’s game is slated for a 5 p.m. first pitch, with a doubleheader to close things out on Friday beginning at noon.
Rio Grande brings a 7-5 record into the weekend after suffering a 14-1 loss at No. 3-ranked Lee University on Monday afternoon.
Offensively, the RedStorm have been led in the early season by senior Shane Spies, who is batting .375 with two home runs, five doubles and 15 RBIs.
Freshman Chris Ford and senior Kyle Perez are also above the .300 mark at .368 and .314, respectively. Ford has four doubles and Perez has the team’s only triple to this point.
Freshman Kirk Yates also is off to a good start, batting .286 with a home run, two doubles and seven RBI.
On the mound, Rio will likely send out the trio of senior Ryan Robertson, junior Michael Deitsc and freshman Kyle Miller.
Robertson is 1-1 with 2.00 earned run average through three starts. The left-hander has allowed 14 hits and five runs - four earned - in 18 innings of work, with eight walks and 14 strikeouts.
Deitsch is 1-1 with 5.09 ERA in three starts, allowing 25 hits and 12 runs - 10 earned - in 17.2 innings. The right-hander has walked five and struck out 15.
Miller is off to a perfect 3-0 start and sports a 1.62 ERA in 16.2 innings on the bump. Also a left-hander, he’s surrendered 13 hits and eight runs - only three of which have been earned - with seven walks and eight strikeouts.
Bluefield sports a 4-5 record entering the weekend as is coming off of a doubleheader sweep at Tennessee Temple on Wednesday by scores of 6-2 and 8-5.
Entering play on Wednesday, the Rams were led offensively by senior shortstop Will Simpson (.368), senior third baseman Jamie Blackwell (.308) and senior outfielder Jacob Wright (.280). Blackwell and Wright both had three doubles and five RBI prior to the twinbill sweep of Temple.
The top candidates for starting assignments on the mound for the Rams are senior right-hander Justin Lykins, junior righty Zac Russell-Myers and senior right-hander Sean Williams.
Lykins and Russell-Myers are both 1-1, while Williams has dropped each of his first two decisions.
Lykins has a 3.60 ERA and has allowed 12 hits and seven runs in 10 innings of work, while Russell-Myers sports a 4.11 ERA with 17 hits and nine runs in 15.1 innings.
Williams has struck out 11 batters in 10 innings, but has also allowed 12 hits, eight runs and six walks en route to a 7.20 ERA.
The two teams have actually met once already on February 8 as part of the Tennessee Valley Invitational Tournament, with RedStorm posting a 4-0 win.