Radford drops two home games to close Gardner-Webb’s triple-header

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By Austin White | awhite26@radford.edu

The Radford Men’s Baseball team came into this past weekend coming off a loss on Thursday to Big South foe Gardner-Webb University. The team had a rough weekend losing on Friday by one run and on Saturday by four, ultimately losing the series 0-3.

On Friday, freshman pitcher Hunter Williams started the game for the Highlanders. Lead-off hitter for Gardner-Webb Mason Fox, beamed Williams’ third pitch of the night to left field running to second base in the process.

Later in the inning, while fielding a ground ball hit by redshirt sophomore Eric Jones, Williams lost his footing, and the ball went off his glove allowing Fox to score.

Gardner-Webb senior pitcher Bradley Hallman kept the Highlanders quiet until the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore Carlin Christian struck a pitch down right field earning him a double. Redshirt sophomore Colby Higgenson grounded outgaining an RBI in the process as Christian scored tying the game at 1-1.

Hallman started to look rattled as Radford tried to take the lead. First sophomore Spencer Horwtiz got on base by hitting a single. Soon after, redshirt junior Andrew Szamski did the same, and junior Matt Roth followed suit, all hitting singles in the third inning.

After a timeout by Gardner-Webb, sophomore Straton Podaras stepped to the plate and ran Horwitz home by hitting a single as well giving Radford the lead 2-1.

In the top of the fifth inning, Gardner-Webb tied the game when Fox hit a sacrifice fly to score freshman Taber Mongero. The Highlanders answered right back in the same inning scoring Higgerson on a sacrifice fly by Roth taking the lead 3-2.

At the top of the sixth inning with two runners on base, Mongero hit a single to left field scoring junior Corey Howard to tie the game.
Radford’s head coach Joe Raccuia decided to change pitchers and substituted in junior Andrew Nardi.

The next hitter, freshman J.P. McGuire gave Gardner-Webb the biggest lead of the game crushing one of Nardi’s first pitches up center field scoring Mongero and junior Chris Clary.

Radford responded in the bottom of the sixth inning when freshman Garret Matheny scored on a fielder’s choice making the game 5-4. However, the Highlanders did not score another run for the rest of the game.

Junior Jarett Thompson entered the game in the seventh and took it over. He accumulated sixth strikeouts, including one on a tense, full count facing Higgenson in the bottom of the ninth. The game ended when Horwitz hit a fly ball to senior Mickey Dugan in left field.

In Saturday’s game, redshirt senior Austin Ross started for Radford. After leadoff hitter Fox hit a ball that was caught in the center field, Dugan crushed a ball out of the park for a home run in Ross’ first pitch to him.

Howard followed Dugan up by hitting a double, stealing third, and ultimately scored when Ross tried to pick him off, and Roth could not make the catch making the game 2-0.

Radford’s first hit was a huge one by Matheny, who smacked a home run in the bottom of the second inning making the game 2-1. After this play by the Highlanders, Gardner-Webb’s pitcher Fox began to settle in.

Fox did not allow another run while he pitched, striking out five Radford hitters. He hummed the ball over the home plate with so much force the umpire had to step back a couple of times.

At the top of the third inning, Dugan picked up right where he left off hitting a double and moving to third base after a fly out by Jones. After Howard scored Dugan on a single he hit to right field; Ross started to look rattled.

He then walked the next batter, Clary, leaving two men on base. Junior Justin Kunz stepped up and put the game almost out of reach blasting a three-run homer over the left field wall giving Gardner-Webb a 6-1 lead.

Once redshirt junior pitcher Wil Sellers relieved Fox in the sixth inning, the Highlanders saw an opportunity. They started making their comeback in the seventh inning scoring three runs on Sellers. Butler and Christian scored, while Higgerson scored and gained an RBI making the game 6-4.

Gardner-Webb held off the comeback by scoring a run in each of the last two innings winning the game 8-4. Losing the series 0-3 makes the overall record for the Highlanders 10-6 while they are 2-7 in conference play.

Photo Credit: (radfordathletics.com)