Men’s Baseball: Highlanders Fall to East Carolina University on the Road

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By Lucas Carr | lcarr15@radford.edu

The Radford Baseball team, unfortunately, dropped their first two games of the season. They traveled to Greenville, NC to face #11 ranked East Carolina for a doubleheader this past Friday. The Pirates took the first game 6-2 for the 2 o’clock game and then burst for a 15-9 victory in the evening match-up.

The Game Begins 

In the first game, the senior southpaw pitcher Zach Ridgley made a successful return to the mound. He threw 83 pitches in under five innings where he only had two runs on six hits and walked three Pirates. Ridgley let up the first run of the night to the opposing side’s starting pitcher.

The Highlanders answered quickly back with two solo home runs by designated hitter Garrett Matheny and center fielder Kyle Butler in the top of the third inning.

After the Pirates tied the score in the bottom of the third, the visiting team were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the fourth and sixth. The sixth inning is when things got interesting for the Highlanders.

Left fielder Spencer Horwitz was opening the inning with a single and then stole second base. A deep smack by right fielder Andrew Szamski but was stopped from leaving the park by a gust of wind. After a forced walk, Horwitz advanced to third, but the exciting sequence was ended by a pop fly out to right field.

Radford’s Hope

ECU ended the first game with two runs in seventh, and Radford looked to the evening game for redemption.

The Highlanders struck first in the nightcap and Szamski smacked a two-run homer in the top of the first inning, bouncing in and out of the glove of the Pirates left fielder and went over the wall. The two teams then traded runs, but it wasn’t until the bottom of the second when ECU exploded with 10 runs, taking command for the rest of the game.

Left-handed pitcher Hunter Williams took the loss as the Pirates finished the game with 15 runs.

The Future for the Highlanders

Although the Highlanders finished the 2018 season with above .500 play, they are eagerly looking forward to this spring season. The 2017 Big South Pitcher of the Year, Ridgley, is coming back from an injury. He posted a 7-5 record when starting before redshirting last season.

Other returning players include 2018 Big South First Team All-Conference Spencer Horwitz who has made the shift from first base to left field. Virginia Tech first base transfer J.D. Mundy batted .257 with seven homers and 23 RBIs last season for the Hokies.

The Highlanders will then head for neutral ground in Spartanburg, SC to take on the likes of VCU, Pittsburg and Wofford. To continue their traveling, they will face the Hokies in Blacksburg and a start a three-game series against the University of Alabama at Birmingham the first three days of March.

They will not make their way back home until March 6th to take on William and Mary. The Highlanders are kicking off the 2019 season with high hopes.

Photo Credit: (RU Athletics of Zach Ridgley)