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Softball gets swept by Campbell

Jason Blocker | jblocker2@radford.edu

The Radford softball team continued their conference struggles this week, but not before sweeping Western Carolina on Wednesday evening. Scheduled for a double header, Radford held their ground in two games, winning by scores of 5-4 and 3-0.

In their first matchup, Radford began sloppy out of the gate. Committing a two-base error in the top of the third, the Highlanders put Western Carolina in prime position to run away in the early going. Luckily for Radford, these mental lapses only resulted in one run for the opposition.

It was the top of the same inning that saw Radford’s offensive explosion. Radford tallied four out of its seven hits in the top of the third inning. Fantastic batting displays from Brittany Wratchford and Sofia Tapia solidified a 4-1 lead, not allowing enough time for the Catamounts for claw their way back into the match. Western Carolina’s attempt to make a final push in game one was cut short by stellar defensive play from Hannah Medlam and Kayla Huffman.

Game two was a testament to the sensational senior season of pitcher Abby Morrow. Tossing a one-hitter in game two, Morrow didn’t have to rely on her offense to bail her out of any mishaps.

The bats began to connect in the fourth for Radford, as junior catcher Maggie Rowe smashed a ball off of the scoreboard to give her six home runs on the year. Rowe would also be responsible for bringing in Marissa Gagliano for the game’s final run, securing the sweep in a 3-0 victory.

On Friday, the Highlanders played Big South rival Campbell University in another doubleheader. Unlike their series against Western Carolina, Radford would be on the unfortunate end of a weekend sweep. The first game against the second-place Camels was a nail-biter down to the end. Scoring in single run increments throughout the contest, Campbell commanded a 3-0 lead over Radford in the seventh. With hope looking bleak, Wratchford would go yard with a man on base to cut the lead down to one. Hannah Medlam’s hit after Wratchford fell just short of the fence, ending the game at 3-2 in favor of the Camels.

The Highlanders began their second game against the Camels with an intense emotion that translated into an early 5-3 lead. Campbell pitcher Megan Richards was relieved after walking three straight batters. Her reliever, Amber Schisler, threw an erratic pitch in her first throw of the day, bringing in Marissa Gagliano of Radford to take the 5-3 advantage.

The lead was short-lived, as they watched Campbell go on a 13-1 run. In their last five at-bats, the Camels managed to score on every single one. They used a combination of walked batters and precise hitting to open up the floodgates for more runs than Radford has seen all year. The 14-6 advantage was too much for Radford to surmount, even after Brittany Wratchford and Hannah Medlam’s strong finishes behind the plate.

In the series finale versus Campbell on Saturday, the thunder was the only thing between the Camels and a series sweep over the Highlanders.

After a rain delay, even a fantastic pitching performance wasn’t enough to lift Radford, as Morrow only allowed three runs off of nine hits. Radford’s kryptonite was shown to be themselves, as two of the Camels five runs came as a result of Highlander fielding errors. Campbell pitcher Katie Baker would capitalize on the Highlander woes, as she retired nine of Radford’s final ten batters to complete the 3-0 weekend sweep with a 5-4 victory.

Radford softball will travel to Hampton for a Tuesday doubleheader before hosting Virginia Tech on Wednesday. A three-game series on the road against Presbyterian awaits after.

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