Freshman heroics secure Senior Day sweep

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by Will Beverina |

Abby Morrow pitched a shutout in game one and Marissa Yow hit a walk-off home run in game two as Radford softball beat visiting Presbyterian in a doubleheader on Senior Day last Saturday. Another Sunday win against the Blue Hose meant a weekend series sweep for the Highlanders.

Having also pitched on Sunday, Morrow notched wins number 16 and 17 on the season from the mound, making it six consecutive wins for the junior, with four of those coming without having allowed a run.

The weekend started on Saturday, where the seniors of the team were honored before the doubleheader for Senior Day. Casey Burns, Nia Chiles, Whitney Davis and Becky Mantel were gifted with bouquets of flowers and a framed Radford jersey with their numbers on it. Megan Honaker, who graduated last year as a junior, was also honored.

The first game itself became a pitchers duel early on, as neither Radford (29-15) nor Presbyterian (21-22) could find a run in the opening innings in a match that was televised on ESPN3.

That changed when Niles delivered a two-run double in the fourth inning to open up the scoring, sending Davis and Jessica Curbiera home. Freshman Marissa Gagliano would then send Chiles in for a third run on a groundout to second base.

Gagliano picked up her second RBI in the sixth inning, this time singling to left center field and allowing Haley Hutchins to score. The 4-0 advantage would be the end of all scoring, as Morrow pitched seven complete innings without allowing a run and only surrendering two hits with zero batters walked.

The second part of the doubleheader would prove to be a little more nerve-wracking. Radford seemed to be in control again when Hannah Medlam grounded out to send Davis home, who was on third base with a triple of her own.

The third inning, however, was not as kind. After Radford pitcher Lauren McIntyre allowed a run to tie the game at 1-1, an error from the Highlanders defense saw two unearned runs score for the Blue Hose, who suddenly found themselves ahead 3-1.

But Medlam would again come up big for Radford, this time hitting a crucial triple in the fourth inning to score Kayla Bishton, her second RBI of the game.

The 3-2 score would stand until the bottom of the seventh and final inning, with the Highlanders needing their offense to come through.

Mantel started the inning by drawing a walk. After Summer Robinson fouled out for the first out of the inning, Yow stepped to the plate. After the first pitch was a ball, she saw the second pitch and crushed a home run to left field, sending Mantel home and crossing home plate herself to be mobbed by her teammates. The walk-off two-run homer gave Radford a come-from-behind 4-3 victory to cap the evening.

On Sunday, Morrow returned to the mound to face the same Presbyterian side she had blanked the previous day. She pitched another complete game, allowing only one run while striking out six Blue Hose batters.

After two scoreless innings, Chiles capped off her Senior Day weekend with a triple in the third inning to send Medlam in for Radford’s first score.

Presbyterian would answer in the fourth inning with a run of their own, but a three-run fourth from the Highlanders saw Radford grab the lead immediately. After Bishton doubled to send home Davis, Curbiera would single to send home Bishton. Medlam notched another RBI when she singled to score Curbiera. The 4-1 lead was enough, as Morrow pitched the last three innings unblemished for the Radford win, its ninth consecutive victory.

The Radford softball team continues its homestand with a Wednesday game against Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. It rounds out the final home games of the schedule with a series against Liberty, starting with a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and a third game on Wednesday at 2 p.m.