ASHLAND, Va. - After earning a No. 1 ranking for the first time in program history earlier in the day, sophomore Cole Grinde (Woodford, Va./Caroline) went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBI in his first start at first base this season as the top-ranked Randolph-Macon baseball team defeated fifth-ranked Christopher Newport 6-3 Tuesday afternoon on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park.
The Yellow Jackets (29-5-1) downed the Captains (31-8) for the second time this season. R-MC posted an 11-6 victory on March 1 in Newport News.
R-MC put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Senior Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) doubled to right with two away. When senior Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) drew a walk, Migliorini moved to third on a passed ball. Grinde laced a double to right center to drive in Migliorini and Spiers, giving the Yellow Jackets a lead they would not relinquish at 2-0. Senior Reece Yeargain (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) singled up the middle, bringing home Grinde and giving R-MC a 3-0 advantage.
After CNU tallied single runs in the third and fifth, the Yellow Jackets answered in the sixth. Spiers had a leadoff single, moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Grinde and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yeargain to push the lead to 4-2.
The Captains made it a one-run game in the top of the eighth before R-MC added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the frame. Grinde crushed a double high off the fence in left field. Yeargain sacrificed him to third and a base hit by sophomore Michael Nickles (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) plated Grinde, making it 5-3. Nickles went to second on a groundout, to third on a wild pitch, and made a daring scamper home on a wild pitch to give the Yellow Jackets a 6-3 lead.
Senior Christian Cok (Chester, S.C./Lewisville) pitched a scoreless ninth to record his fifth save of the season. He has 70 career appearances and 13 career saves, both program records.
Sophomore Matthew Nickles (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) earned the win, hurling four innings with three hits, one run, one walk and five strikeouts.
Yeargain had two RBI, while Spiers scored twice for the Yellow Jackets.
CNU out-hit R-MC 10-9, but stranded 12.
Randolph-Macon will be the No. 1 seed in the 2018 ODAC Tournament. The Yellow Jackets will entertain eighth-seeded Bridgewater this weekend on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park in a best-of-three series in the first round of the tourney. The teams will play Game 1 on Friday, May 4 at 3:30 p.m. Game 2 will be held on Sunday, May 6 at 1 p.m. If the teams split those first two games, Game 3 will be played 30 minutes following the conclusion of Game 2. Admission is $5. Students with valid IDs and children 12 and under will be admitted free.