Lucas Goad | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Radford Highlanders defeated the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in a walk-off win Tuesday night in a 4-3 victory.
The Highlanders (12-15, 3-3) scored the first two runs in the first inning. Danny Hrbek hit a two-RBI double with teammates Kyle Butler and Adam Whitacre scoring to give the Highlanders the 2-0 lead.
The Buccaneers (12-10) responded with a 3-1 run starting in the second inning. Chris Cook of ETSU hit a single down center field, advancing him to second off the RBI. Seth Cunningham advanced to second, with Jackson Greer scoring, cutting the RU 2-1 lead.
In the eighth inning, Christian Bailey of ETSU hit down the right field, with Aaron Maher tying the game up at two. Rowlett put the Buccaneers up with an RBI, setting up Bailey with the core, giving them the 3-2 lead.
Down 3-2 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Radford’s Luke Wise had a walk, putting a runner on base. Whitacre then hit a bunt down the line, beating the throw for an infield single.
With one runner on second and one on first for the Highlanders, Hrbek was up to bat for Radford. He hit a triple down the right field line scoring Whitacre and Luke Wise for the hard-fought Radford victory.
This was the Highlanders’ first win against the Buccaneers since March 24, 2015, where Radford had a 7-4 victory.
The following Friday, the Highlanders started a three-game series against the Presbyterian Blue Hose.
The Highlanders found themselves on the opposite side of the scoreboard in the first game against the Blue Hose (14-16, 3-3) in a 4-3 loss.
After trailing 4-1 through six innings, Matt Roth doubled to left field and Anthony Miano singled to center field to put runners on the corners for the Highlanders, with Radford scoring their second run of the game.
While Wise would get out on a bunt, Miano went to third base, with two down in the frame. After seven pitches, Whitacre hit a single down right field, plating Miano and moving Radford within one.
Radford didn’t take advantage as Roth and Miano struck out swinging as the Highlanders stranded eight runners in the loss.
Colin Reid pitched a perfect bottom half of the eighth, sending Radford to the ninth with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Pinch hitter Richard De la Cruz led off the inning with a single to right field. Wise put down his second bunt to move De la Cruz to second. Whitacre jumped on a fastball, lining out to left field.
Kyle Butler stepped up the plate with a chance to tie the game at four with two outs. Butler singled a 0-2 pitch to right field as De la Cruz raced home. The freshman lost his footing, falling just shy of home plate to be tagged out by the Presbyterian catcher.
On Saturday in the second game of the series, Radford failed to recover, falling 4-1 against the Blue Hose.
The game started out as a pitching duel between Hrbek and Presbyterian’s Tanner Chock, with both holding the other’s team scoreless for four consecutive innings. Both teams only managed one hit apiece during the stretch.
Radford was the first to break through, plating its lone run of the game in the fifth inning. Richard De La Cruz drew a two-out walk before advancing to third after stealing second base. Clayton Baine then doubled to left-center, driving driving in De La Cruz to give the Highlanders the 1-0 lead.
Presbyterian answered with two runs of their own in the sixth with a two-run homer from Cletis Avery.
Radford loaded the bases in the sixth on singles by Butler, Jonathan Gonzalez and Spencer Horwitz. The Highlanders didn’t capitalize as Matt Roth hit a chopper, which forced a fielders’ choice putout at second base to end Radford’s chance of scoring.
In the seventh, after a pitching change by Radford, Glen Casaceli of Presbyterian jumped on the first pitch and doubled inside the bag at third to score both runners giving them the 4-1 lead and the win.
On the last game of the series the following Sunday, Radford finished off strong against the Blue hose with a 4-1 win.
Radford started off in the first inning, scoring three runs. Their first run of the game came off a RBI from Jonathan Gonzales, with Butler advancing to second, Hrbek advancing to third and De La Cruz scoring.
Hrbek and Butler would score after Matt Roth hit a double down the right field line.
Presbyterian answered with one run in the first. The score came off of an AJ Priaulx walk, causing Avery to score.
After six scoreless innings, Radford scored the final run of the game off an Anthony Miano RBI, with Spencer Horwitz advancing to third and Gonzales scoring.
On the defensive side, Kyle Zurak struck out nine in six innings and seven in a row through the second and fourth in his first collegiate start.
The Highlanders’ next game will be Tuesday as they face off against the Liberty Flames at home.