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Baseball comes out on top in weekend series vs. Longwood

Colleen McNickle | cmcnickle@radford.edu

Radford baseball took the series against Longwood to open Big South play last weekend. The Highlanders went two-for-three in the series after winning one of two games during their doubleheader Saturday.

On Friday, Zack Ridgely posted an impressive line of only three hits allowed, one walk, 11 strikeouts and zero runs allowed over 7.2 innings in a 10-0 Radford (10-13) win. The junior ace improved his record to 3-3 on the year.

Longwood (9-15) starting pitcher Devin Gould had a tougher time on the mound, as the Radford bats had little trouble in getting on the scoreboard. The senior right-handed pitcher allowed two runs alone on wild pitches in the second and fifth innings.

The first run of the day came on a Spencer Horowitz single that plated Jonathan Gonzalez. Horowitz was then able to score a run on his own after an errant Gould pitch for a 2-0 Radford lead after two innings.

The lead was expanded in the fifth when another wild pitch allowed Danny Hrbek to score, with a throwing error from the Longwood catcher also bringing Kyle Butler home. Another throwing error from the Lancer defense allowed two more runs to score later in the inning for a 7-0 Radford lead. A Gonzalez two-RBI double in the eighth and a Cody Schneider solo shot in the ninth closed out the win for the Highlanders.

The Highlanders easily swept the visiting Lancers during the first game Saturday, scoring 16 runs over Longwood’s 6 runs. Early in the game the Highlander’s were in a rut. Down by three in the bottom of the 5th, redshirt junior outfielder Luke Wise evened out the contest with a three-run shot over the right center wall. With this, the Highlander’s gained momentum.

The very next inning Radford took the lead 5-3 after a homerun hit from Hrbeck. Freshman infielder Clayton Blaine was soon able to add to the run count with a bunt the Lancers failed to act on.

The Lancers changed pitchers yet again to try to slow the Highlanders roll, however, the gap was widened again after Kyle Butler was able to launch a two-run homer, making the score 8-3.

The Highlanders were very efficient throughout the rest of the match. In the seventh inning they scored five more runs bring the lead to 13-3 topped off by the Anthony Miano and his two-run homerun.

Freshman outfielder Victor De la Cruz pushed the lead to 16-3 with his first collegiate homerun and Longwood was never able to recover despite earning three runs in the ninth inning.

The second game of the day proved tougher for the Highlanders as they fell to the Lancers 7-1. Although the Highlanders had clinched the series, they could not keep it up.

During the second game Radford’s singular run came off the bat of sophomore infielder Matt Roth who brought them within striking range at 4-1.

However, Longwood converted three more runs, ultimately pushing the win and staving off Radford, holding them to just two hits over the last three innings.

Head Coach Joe Raccuia had this to say about the winning series, “Overall, we played two really good baseball games this weekend. We were able to take the series over what I think is a pretty good Longwood team that is going to have some success in Big South play.”

Radford will take a short break from conference play on Tuesday to face Eastern Tennessee State University at home before traveling to Clinton, S.C. for a weekend three-game conference series against Presbyterian starting March 31.

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