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By Carrie Birkett | firstname.lastname@example.org
A comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday and a walk-off single on Sunday captured the series win for Radford baseball this past weekend.
The Campbell Camels (15-14) came into Radford Friday night with Zack Ridgely taking the mound for the Highlanders (8-20). And he came out strong, pitching his second complete game of the season with a career-high seven strikeouts on the mound.
Head Coach Joe Raccuia was more than pleased with his Friday night starter, “What Ridgely did tonight is what Friday night guys do. We gave him some runs late in the game and he took us the rest of the way.”
Radford got things started in the bottom of the first, where Danny Hrbek had a RBI single up the middle to bring Chris Coia home from second base.
Campbell answered right away in the top of the second inning to tie the game at 1-1. The game stayed tied until Brian Taylor of Campbell scored off a fly-out from Zack Minnick in the fourth to give them the 2-1 lead.
The Highlanders answered in the fifth with a sacrifice bunt from Colby Higgerson to drive in Kyle Butler. But Campbell was not going to let it stop there. Matt Parrish doubled down the left field line in the sixth to send home Taylor again to give the Camels a 3-2 lead.
Hrbek doubled down the right field line in the bottom of the sixth inning to send Shane Johnsonbaugh home to tie the game back up at 3 apiece.
The game really got started for Radford in the seventh. Butler was walked to get on first, and Campbell made their first pitching change of the night taking Nick Thayer out and replacing him with their closer Erik Dowse.
Dowse then walked Chandler Davis, advancing Butler to second. Higgerson was up next and reached on by an error loading the bases for Radford. Luke Wise struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Coia was hit by pitch sending Butler home to make the score 4-3. Johnsonbaugh then singled to center field sending home Davis. Hrbek flied out to centerfield, Johnsonbaugh advanced to third on a throwing error and Higgerson scored for the final run of the night for Radford making the score 6-3.
Campbell tried and failed with a comeback in the ninth inning, scoring one run to make the final for game one 6-4.
In game two of the series Dylan Nelson took the mound for the Highlanders while Grant Yost started things off pitching for Campbell.
The Camels took an early lead in the first inning with Parrish, Taylor and Minnick scoring.
Wise scored the only run for Radford in the game during the third inning, getting on base with a single. Coia reached on by an error at left field sending Wise in.
The Camels weren’t done there. They scored two more runs in the sixth with Jimmy Monaghan scoring on a wild pitch and Drew Butler scoring with help from a bunt from Ben Calvano.
Austin Ross came in for the Highlanders in the sixth inning to relieve Nelson, but the damage was already done as Campbell won the second game 5-1.
Sunday became the rubber match between the two teams with Radford hoping to even their record in the Big South.
Mitchell MacKeith started on the mound for the Highlanders keeping the game under control.
Hrbek and Coia forced a Campbell player to choose a runner in the third inning with both trying to steal and Coia ending up stealing home plate giving Radford an early 1-0 lead.
The game stayed 1-0 until the top of the ninth when a pinch hitter from Campbell, Justin Lamazares, launched the ball over the right field wall with Trevor Riggs coming up just short of the catch. The solo home run tied the game at one-all.
MacKeith faced two more batters before Mack Krupp came in from the bullpen to relieve. Krupp hit Minnick to then load the bases for the Camels. But he got out of the jam with Monoghan grounding out to short for Higgerson to field the ball and throw to first for the final out of the inning.
Jordan Taylor started with a double in the bottom of the ninth hoping to get things going for the Highlanders. Pinch hitter Adam Whitacre came to the plate in a sacrifice bunt opportunity. Whitacre fouled off his first attempt but following a balk from Campbell pitcher Dowse, J. Taylor moved to third and into scoring positon.
But Whitacre was unable to get on base grounding out to the shortstop. Higgerson stepped up to the plate hoping to get something going. He stayed patient at the plate, with the count going 3-1. With a green light from Raccuia, Higgerson singled up the middle on the next pitch to send J. Taylor home to end the final game of the series.
Krupp got his first win of his career.
Racciua spoke highly of his Sunday pitcher, but gave most of the credit to Higgerson.
“Colby won the game with the big hit, but did more on the defensive side than anything,” he said.
The Highlanders stay at home this weekend with a rematch of the Big South tournament against Coastal Carolina. The first pitch of the series will be Friday at 6:30 p.m.