Softball shuts out Presbyterian

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The Radford Softball Team put together a series of impressive performances in their home opening weekend by sweeping a three game series against the Presbyterian College Blue Hose in dominating fashion.

The home opener on Saturday marked the first time that the Highlanders (11-19, 5-3 Big South) have hosted an opponent at the newly renovated RU Softball Stadium. These renovations include the addition of stadium seating, a press box and new dugouts.

Freshman Abby Morrow tormented the Blue Hose (19-18, 4-7 Big South) with her tremendous pitching in game one of the Saturday double-header by matching her career high for strikeouts with nine and didn’t walk a single batter during her six innings of pitching. Junior Kelsey Weddle closed the game for the Highlanders by retiring three straight batters to preserve the 6-0 shutout.

The game one rout consisted of three Highlander homeruns, most notably of which being a three-run homerun hit by sophomore Whitney Davis in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomores Becky Mantel and Casey Burns also contributed to the home run total with one a piece in the match-up.

The Highlanders carried their momentum into game two of the Saturday double header by getting off to a quick start that consisted of six runs scored within the games first three innings. The story of game two wasn’t RU’s fast start on offense however, as Rachael Walters pitched the best game of her sophomore season. Walters’ marvelous outing included five strike outs, one hit and one walk as she pitched the first shut out of her collegiate career as a starter.

The final score of game two mirrored that of game 1’s as the Highlanders once again ended with six runs in the shutout. Freshman Kayla Bishton and Sophomore Becky Mantel both played large roles in the Highlanders game two offense after they each went 2-3 at the plate for the contest. Mantel hit her second homerun of the afternoon and managed to score twice while Bishton contributed with a homerun of her own as well as three RBI.

The final game of the three game series took place Sunday afternoon as the Highlanders continued to flex their muscles over the struggling Blue Hose in a game that ended in yet another shutout for the home team, this time in only five innings.

The string of impressive performances continued for Radford as Whitney Davis tied the school record for RBI with a total of six for her afternoon during a performance which also featured her first collegiate grand slam as well as two runs for the sophomore. The six RBI for Davis marks the first time a Highlander has reached that mark since Hannah Ojenda managed to do it in 2011 against Toledo. Sophomore Nia Chiles also had an impressive day with a career best three runs scored in the game.

The pitching for the Highlanders was spectacular yet again as Rachael Walters pitched her second consecutive shutout of the series. Walters picked up where she left off in game two by retiring the first nine batters she faced and allowed only one base hit for the second straight game.

The Highlanders, who finished with the highest scoring total of their season with 11 runs on the day, finished the three game series with a total of 23 runs while managing to hold the Blue Hose scoreless in all three contests.

Radford will go on the road this weekend to face Big South foe Charleston Southern.