By Carrie Birkett
After inclement weather moved all of the baseball games around this weekend, Radford lost the series to Big South foe Coastal Carolina.
The series is the first time the Chanticleers and the Highlanders have met since the Big South tournament championship game last May. This match-up did not go the way the Highlanders would have wanted it to go. The Chants came into Radford holding onto the No. 20 spot in the nation, and 16th in RPI.
The first of three games was moved up to 3:30 P.M. on Friday with the Friday night guy Zack Ridgely on the mound for the Highs. Alex Cunningham had the start for Coastal.
Coastal gained an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Connor Owings got things started for the Chants singling to right field. Billy Cooke stepped up to the plate with a bunt that moved Owings to second. Tyler Chadwick stepped up next and doubled to right center to send Owings home.
The third inning stayed quiet on both ends on the field. But Coastal got ahead again in the fourth and fifth innings with two more runs giving them a 3-0 lead.
But in the seventh inning the Chants came out swinging with Seth Lancaster being walked and Anthony Marks singling to the right off of Ridgely before Miller Trevvett came into the game. But the first batter Trevvett faced was All-American Michael Paez. Paez homered to left center scoring Marks and Lancaster.
A series of errors on Coastal scored Jordan Taylor in the bottom of the seventh to try to keep the Highlanders in the game. Radford left two on base, unable to capitalize on any more runs.
Unfortunately for the Highlanders Coastal wasn’t stopping there. The Chants scored 7 runs in the top of the 8th inning to give them a total of 13 runs on the night.
The Highlanders comeback in the bottom of the ninth fell just short. Jordan Taylor scored the first run of the inning. With two outs on the scoreboard, Colby Higgerson kept Radford alive with a single. From there the Highlanders tried to come back on the Chants. Higgerson scored, Adam Whitacre scored, and Anthony Miano scored the last run of the night.
Game one ended with a score of 13-6. Head Coach Joe Raccuia had nothing but high praise for his Friday hurler “Rigdley kept us in the game and did enough to earn a quality start. He has thrown a lot of innings over his couple of starts.”
Game two and three of the series were moved to a double header on Sunday starting at 12.
Dylan Nelson got the start for game two. Coastal again got things started in the top of the third inning scoring 3 runs. But Nelson was not going to let Coastal go very easy. He pitched 5 innings with six strikeouts.
Austin Ross came in for Nelson and pitched the final four innings, with Raccuia most likely wanting to save some of this bullpen arms for the second game of the day.
Radford kept up better with Coastal in the first game of the day scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the third with Luke Wise and Higgerson running in. And then scoring again in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game up was Taylor.
Coastal added four more runs in the game, one in the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th, to give them a final score of 7. The Highlanders again came up short just scoring one more run in the bottom of the ninth as Coastal went on to win the game and the series.
Game two of the day started 45 minutes after the first game of the day. Mitchell MacKeith started on the hump for Radford, hoping to close out the game.
Radford and Coastal both scored runs in the first inning to tie the game at 1 apiece. But again Coastal scored in the second inning to give them a 2-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, Coastal exploded on runs, starting with Lancaster. After Paez scored, MacKeith was pulled for Ryan Sande. But after a couple wild pitches, Cooke advanced two bases after singling to left field. But catcher Chandler Davis went after a wild pitch and and Sande came to home plate to catch the throw from Davis to get Owings out for the final out of the inning.
Radford again found themselves playing catchup, but a run from Johnathan Gonzalez tried to keep hope up with the Highlanders. But that was all Radford was going to do for the day.
Game three ended with a score of 7-2. Coastal swept the series from Radford.
Radford returns home April 22 for a three game series against George Mason.