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In a busy week for Radford Baseball, RU was able to grab a comeback win against North Carolina A&T, and a three game series sweep against Fairleigh Dickinson University. After the wins, the Highlanders moved to 21-15 on the season.
Radford battled back from a 6-1 deficit against the North Carolina A&T Aggies on Wednesday night to win 8-7.
RU used five two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth, and a pair of runs in the eighth to outscore A&T 7-1 in the last five innings of the game.
North Carolina A&T struck first in the third inning scoring three runs. The Highs responded in their half of the inning with a two-out double down left field by redshirt junior infielder Jeff Kemp to score senior infielder Brett Mollenhauer.
The Aggies extended their lead to five runs with a double RBI by Brandon Wilkerson for his second of the game, and a groundout to third base landed yet another run.
With bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, a triple to right center by sophomore outfielder Blake Sipe was good for a triple RBI to plate redshirt sophomore Daniel Wright, junior outfielder Cory Turner and Kemp, closing the gap to 6-5. After RU’s senior outfielder Zach Costello was hit by a pitch, freshman infielder Josh Gardiner singled through the left side for an RBI to tie the game at six.
The Aggies had a two-out rally of their own in the seventh with a single to right center to score Marqui Riley for the go-ahead run. With players on the corners, RU fought back in the eighth when Gardiner hit a sacrifice fly to score Wright for the tying run. After a single and a steal at second base, Costello scored following a fielding error at third to give RU the lead 8-7.
Senior pitcher Jason Patten took his second win of the season, pitching two solid innings late in the game. Freshman left-handed pitcher Jeff Maxwell pitched two scoreless relief innings before Patten came on in the seventh.
Game one of the series against the Fairleigh Dickinson University Knights was highlighted by junior right-handed pitcher Eddie Butler who pitched his second complete game in a row and second career shutout to spring the Highs to a 1-0 win.
Kemp led the RU offense going 2-for-3 and scoring the solo run of the game when he started the fourth inning with his sixth triple of the season. On the next at-bat, a sacrifice fly to right field by senior outfielder Matt Hillsinger secured the run for Kemp, giving Radford a 1-0 lead.
With bases loaded in the third, a crucial catch by Gardiner at second base pulled RU out of trouble. The Knights threatened in the sixth again with players at first and second base and only one out. Butler fought back and struck out the final two batters with a startling 95 mph pitch to close out the third out and the inning. Butler surrendered only five hits, struck out eight and gave up three walks in the winning effort.
Radford smothered Fairleigh Dickinson in game two cruising to a 13-4 victory. Redshirt freshman pitcher Tyler Costello helped RU with the win, pitching a solid seven innings, earning his seventh win in as many games.
During game three, the Knights scored first with a centerfield fly ball for an RBI to score Shane Siebler in the top of the third. In their half of the inning, RU responded strongly with three runs. A homer by senior infielder Matt Mack plated Mollenhauer and Costello to give RU a 3-1 lead.
Four more runs came for Radford in the bottom of the fifth inning, including three with two outs, to make it 7-1. Mollenhauer tripled to start, and then scored off of a wild pitch. Redshirt sophomore Phil Bondi had a RBI single to score Mack. With two outs and bases loaded, a single by Gardiner brought in two more runs to give the Highs a six run lead.
The Highs flew out to a score of 12-1 in the sixth inning all accredited to home runs. Kemp’s homer scored Mollenhauer who singled and stole second base on the previous play. For his second of the game, Mack hit a home-run to plate Hillsinger. RU grabbed another run following a solo homer by Turner in the next play.
Radford scored again in the seventh inning off of a left center double by junior infielder Ryan Burgess to bring in freshman first baseman/outfielder Patrick Marshall. Fairleigh Dickinson scored a run in the eighth and two in the ninth, but was unable to close the large gap.
RU dominated FDU 10-1 in what was only a seven inning game to sweep game three and the non-conference series on Sunday. Senior pitcher Mark Peterson went six innings to pick up his second win of the season, allowing a run on four hits and striking out six. Radford was also led by Kemp who went 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBI.
Even with a run to tip of the game by Fairleigh Dickinson’s Ryan Kresky, the Knights found themselves in a hole once again when RU streamed back in their half of the inning. A couple of fielding errors helped Radford to score Costello, Mack and Hillsinger to shoot to a 3-0 lead.
The rest of the game was filled by RU offensive domination. A double RBI and a homer from Kemp scored both Mollenhauer and Costello twice. Freshman infielder Hunter Higgerson hit a homer to rack up the points giving RU a lead of 9-1 in the fourth inning.
Another run from Costello in the sixth and a sacrifice fly from Mollenhauer to score Bondi ended the game in the seventh on account of a 10-run travel rule.
The Highlanders will be back on the field on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. for a game against East Tennessee State to wrap up their six-game home stand.