Radford fell to the Camels of Campbell University in a pair of one-run contests on Saturday, April 20 and then were defeated again 11-4 in the series finale on Sunday.
The Highlanders got an early jump in the first game versus Campbell when junior utility player Jessie Hutchens recorded 2 RBI and set the tone for senior utility player Ryndee Ruch to double to left field. She also recorded an RBI and scored on a throwing error from CU giving the Highlanders a 4-0 lead in the first inning of play.
“We have been up and down all season and we have always found a way to flip the switch and come back out and realize we have another opportunity,” said head coach Maggie Johnson.
Despite the hot start for RU, Campbell rallied throughout the course of the game to eventually defeat Radford 9-8 in an 11-inning opening game.
The Camels were able to take the game into extra innings in the top of the seventh on a two-run homer from Camise Patterson. Despite the momentum change, Radford was able to tie the game back up with a two-run homerun in the tenth inning from Emily Naegele.
The Camels stole back the momentum outscoring Radford 2-1 in the eleventh inning to seal up the win in game one.
The Highlanders were able to get yet another early jump on the Camels homering in the second game of the day. Regardless, RU was unable to hold the lead dropping game two by a score of 4-3.
“Our hitters started out okay and then we were just overall inconsistent,” said coach Johnson.
Freshman catcher Emily Naegele led off the Highlanders in the first inning when she smashed a homerun to left field to get the team rolling. The next inning, senior leadoff batter Jessica Agee also smashed a homerun to left field to give Radford a 2-1 lead over the Camels.
Campbell was quick to return the run scored as Raven Lee singled to right field scoring Ericka Nesbitt knotting the contest back up at 2-2.
With yet another momentum swing, senior outfielder Morgan Eye hit a shot to right field, which scored freshman utility player Nia Chiles, giving the Highlanders the lead again, 3-2.
Scoring one run in the first three innings seemed to be all the Highlanders could offer as they were scoreless in the final four inning of game two.
After rallying in the top of the fourth inning, Campbell was able to take back the lead and refused to give it back to the Highlanders.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, Camise Patterson of CU doubled to left center field recording an RBI followed by Stephanie Jones singling to right field bringing in Patterson to give the Camels the 4-3 lead.
The Highlanders had their opportunity to tie in the seventh inning, but Kailey Farmer nailed Ruch at the plate as she was attempting to tie the game. A strikeout and fielders choice followed for the Highlanders, which ended the contest.
On Sunday, the Highlanders had an opportunity to lay claim to their home field after dropping two games on Saturday, but were stopped short again by the Camels, losing 11-4.
The common theme of Radford getting out to a quick start occurred yet again as the Highlanders scored four runs in the first three innings, leading Campbell 4-0 heading into the fourth inning.
The Camels rallied in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4 and were led by Ericka Nesbitt recording a 4-for-4 performance at the plate, scoring three runs. Raven Lee was also clutch for Campbell going 3-for-five, along with three RBI. Stephanie Jones and Courtney Klingler chipped in for the Camels with two hits, each scoring two runs.
With a quiet last four innings offensively, the Highlanders couldn’t hold off a rallying Campbell team who scored all eleven runs in the last four innings of the contest.
Freshman pitcher Rachael Walters suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on ten hits with two strikeouts in three innings. Senior pitcher Jackie Jenkins started the day off on the rubber for RU but suffered through a tough fourth inning which brought in Walters for relief. Jenkins allowed four runs on five hits with a strikeout and no walks.
“Being inconsistent, that’s something we have been trying to get them to get a handle on all year,” said coach Johnson. “Being consistently ready to play and focus is important.”
The Highlanders will look to refocus this week as they take on cross-town rival Virginia Tech on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The Highs, however, ultimately have their eyes set on the Big South Conference tournament coming up in two weeks.