RU Baseball slashes High Point Panthers
It was an exciting weekend for the Radford University Baseball team as they faced a tough conference opponent, the High Point University Panthers, in a 3-game series in North Carolina. Coming off of what was a close battle against No. 25 ranked Coastal Carolina University, RU was looking to pick up a few road wins.
Junior pitcher Eddie Butler allowed two earned runs in what was his first complete game effort of the season to give High Point a 4-2 win in game one of the series on Friday.
High Point got on the scoreboard first with an RBI single by Sal Pezzino to score Sean Wilson. The Panthers extended the lead to 2-0 when a single by Dane McDermott in the bottom of the second.
In the top of the fourth, the Highlanders loaded the bases with no one out, but managed to only grab one run by senior outfielder Zach Costello off of a sacrifice fly by senior infielder Matt Mack. Once again, RU loaded the bases in the fifth, but was unable to score, keeping the score at a 2-1 lump.
Another run by High Point in the bottom of the fifth gave them a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, a one out RBI by freshman infielder Hunter Higgerson made it a 3-2 game when redshirt junior Jeff Kemp plated the run. Struggling to close out again, RU could not score off of loaded bases after a walk by junior outfielder Cory Turner on the next play of the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, High Point sealed the game at 4-2 with an unearned run by Wilson, for his second of the game.
Radford rolled to a day two sweep when they took the doubleheader with scores of 8-3 in the first game and 10-4 in the second game to take the series. Redshirt freshman pitcher Tyler Costello earned his sixth win in a row in the first game, allowing only one run in just over seven innings of work. Senior pitcher Mark Peterson grabbed his first win in the nightcap, giving up four runs in six innings on the night.
The Highs quickly took the lead in game one with a double RBI by Mack to score Kemp and Costello in the first. At the top of the third, a double to left center by Turner clinched an unearned run by senior outfielder Matt Hillsinger to give RU a 3-0 lead.
A run by High Point in the third left no effect on Radford as they scored a pair of runs in the next inning. Zach Costello’s RBI double to left field was enough to bring in redshirt sophomore Daniel Wright. Next play, a sacrifice fly to right field from Kemp helped to bring in freshman infielder Josh Gardiner to give RU a lead of 5-1.
An RBI from Hillsinger scored Zach Costello in the sixth, and a run by senior infielder Brett Mollenhauer alongside RBI number two for Zach Costello helped push RU to an 8-1 lead. High Point grabbed two more runs in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough to make a dent in the gap.
RU struck first again in the nightcap scoring three quick runs. Following a single by Zach Costello to start the game, a Kemp double knocked him into home for the first run of the game. After Kemp scored on a wild pitch, a Mack single scored Turner for a 3-0 lead.
A single run in the third from Hillsinger and a solo home run from Costello in the fourth gave RU a 5-2 advantage after runs by High Point in the second and third. Two more runs from High Point closed the gap to one after Ryne Rush’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth.
It was all Radford from then on, with a run by Gardiner in the sixth, and three more runs in the seventh. Mollenhauer singled to reel in Turner, and then scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to four. Senior catcher Carl Travers knocked in a run to bring Higgerson home, giving RU a 9-4 lead.
A run from Kemp in the eighth secured the victory for Radford. Senior pitcher Mark Peterson allowed 11 hits through six innings, putting up a scoreless inning in the sixth to stop the High Point offense. Peterson has recorded 25 strikeouts so far this season through 26 innings of work.
Through the weekend, Hillsinger leads the team in batting average with .374, and has 24 RBI on the season. Kemp leads the team with 29 RBI.
With the two wins, Radford improved to 17-14 on the season, and 6-3 in the conference. The Highlanders will play its next six games against non-conference opponents at home on April 10 through April 18.
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