Ever since the new softball stadium has opened, the Radford softball team had been perfect going 6-0. On Thursday the team played host to the Appalachian State Mountaineers in a doubleheader.
Game one was scoreless for the first four innings. In the top of the fifth, the Mountaineers finally scored the games first run with an RBI single by Caroline Rogers. They would add another run in the sixth to go up 2-0.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Highlanders were down to their final three outs with their unbeaten home record on the line. After two straight walks, junior Mackenzie Blackwell singled down the leftfield line to score freshman Kayla Bishton for RU’s first run of the game. Then the bases were loaded thanks to an infield single by sophomore Megan Honaker. The Highs would even the score when pinch runner Ashleigh Harris beat the throw home on a grounder to the shortstop. With the bases still loaded the Highlanders would win the game when sophomore Becky Mantel got plunked. Blackwell scored and the Highlanders won in walk-off fashion!
RU looked to ride the momentum of game one into game two of the twin bill. Trailing 1-0 in the fifth, Honaker got on base with a walk with one out, then stole second and third to put the tying run on third base. Unfortunately she was gunned out at home on a groundball to short. With two runners on, senior Jessie Hutchens came up to the plate. Hutchens drilled the first pitch deep over the left field fence for a three run homer to put the Highs ahead. Three pitches later, sophomore Whitney Davis crushed a home run to centerfield giving the Highlanders back-to-back home runs. Sophomore Rachel Walters pitched a complete game and the Highs won 4-1. Walters went 2-0 on the day as she also picked up the game one win with 1.2 innings of shutout relief. She even got out of a bases loaded jam in game one to set up the Highs seventh inning heroics.
“(When the bases were loaded) I didn’t really think about it as a bases loaded jam, I just thought I have to go out here and get each pitch at a time and do the best I can do to help my team out,” said Rachel Walters. “It was nice to get two wins for the day. We fought all the way through both games.”
“I believed in the fight this team had. We’ve done it before and it’s kept us in games even when we’re not at our best at the plate, they fight and come together as a group and they see it through all the way to the end,” said head coach Maggie Johnson White.
With the two wins, RU softball is now 19-20 overall. This week the Highs will return to Big South action where they post an 11-4 record and in third place. The Highs will be home all week. This weekend the Highs will play host to Gardner Webb with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1. Prior to the game there will be pregame ceremonies celebrating the opening of the new stadium, which opened earlier this month. Game one of the doubleheader will be broadcast on ESPN 3. The series and the home schedule will conclude Sunday at 1 with senior day and the Think Pink game.