Softball can’t overcome Carolina foes

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Ricky Rogers |

Radford softball had a rough week as they ended 1-3, including a loss and a cancelled game to East Carolina and a 1-2 weekend series with Charleston Southern.

Radford (18-17) was shutout 5-0 in the first game of a double header versus ECU (19-20) on Wednesday. The second game briefly brought upon a new life for Radford, as they were up 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning before the game was forced to be stopped due to lightning. There was a heavy downpour of rain that began in the second inning which caused poor field conditions, resulting in a “no-game” decision and an early end to the contest. Radford was robbed of its potential first-ever away victory over ECU.

As Saturday began, Radford held its Big South home-opener versus Charleston Southern (20-27), where they pulled off a 5-1 victory. It was a career day for Kayla Bishton as she scored three out of the five Highlanders’ runs.

Kayla Huffman had little trouble with the Buccaneer batters, allowing just one run and striking out seven in her complete-game performance. The Highlanders made sure to give their pitcher some run support, jumping out a 2-0 lead after three innings. A Hunter Mundy double and Summer Robinson single were responsible for the two scores. The game was busted open in the fifth inning with a two-run shot over the left-center wall by Bishton to give Radford a 4-0 lead. Charleston Southern’s lone run of the game came in the sixth inning off of a Caitlyn Emberson double, but a Brittany Wratchford solo home run later in the same inning put the game well out of reach.

The Highlanders began the second game with two doubles that led to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. In the third inning the Bucs began rolling. It started with a walk, followed up by a bunt to put runners on first and second. Jade Gandara followed up with a sacrifice fly ball to send in both runners and give the Bucs a 2-1 lead after three innings. Charleston Southern tacked on another run in the fourth inning for a 3-1 lead.

Later in the fourth, Maggie Rowe followed up with a solo shot to left-center for her fifth home run of the season. But CSU began the fifth inning with a single and followed that up with a two-run homer by Jade Gandara to make the score 5-2, thus beginning a download spiral for Radford.

The Highlanders were unable to put up any more runs and were forced to watch as CSU tallied five more, including a three-run home run by Emberson. Emberson tallied two home runs before the game would end, giving her 11 on the season. Radford was blown out in a 10-2 loss.

Sunday held the tie breaker game to decide the series. The Highlanders were finished off in an 8-1 loss to the Bucs for the first time in a series since 2011.

It was an exceptional game for Cheyenne Gandara, as she threw four strikeouts and only allowed one run. She sparked the fire throughout the team, as she sent a no-doubter to right-center field to send two runners home and give the Buc’s a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

The Highlanders were unable to reply and the Bucs continued rolling. Stevi Johnson hit a nice double through center field and Jade Gandara followed up with a double to right field which sent Johnson home to give CSU a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Brittany Wratchford decided to take things into her own hands as she was determined to score. She hit a zinger over the left-fielder for a one-out double. She made her way to third base and then scored on a throwing error, giving the Highlanders their first run of the day to make the score 4-1 at the bottom of the fourth.

However, the Bucs were not even going to allow Radford to think a comeback was possible as they immediately followed up with a pair of runs to give themselves a 6-1 lead. The Highlanders had a chance to turn the game around in the bottom of the sixth inning. They had a runner on first and second with only one out, but CSU managed to get a double play to put away the Highlanders’ hopes. CSU kept their foot on the gas as the game resumed, scoring two more runs and securing the 8-1 victory.

Radford continues its streak of home games on Wednesday with a non-conference doubleheader against Western Carolina. Game one is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.