Softball uses winning week to climb above .500

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Will Beverina |

Radford softball climbed back above .500 with a 4-1 week, including two series wins over Norfolk State and Big South rival Gardner-Webb.

A Wednesday doubleheader started things off for the Highlanders (17-14, 3-3) against the visiting Spartans (8-11), who had just come off of a series loss against Delaware State. Two run-rule victories in dominating performances gave Radford the sweep in their own ballpark.

The Highlanders wasted little time in gaining a lead after a Hunter Mundy double and Maggie Rowe single drove home two runs in the bottom of the first inning for an early 2-0 Radford lead. Kayla Bishton added a third run for Radford in the third inning when she was able to drive Mundy home after the third baseman had previously drawn a walk.

Norfolk State showed some fight later on, getting two solo home runs in the fourth and sixth innings from Kayla McNair and Kylee Lopez, respectively, to bring the contest to 3-2.

But Radford had little to worry about after Brittany Wratchford launched a grand slam over the left field wall for a sudden 7-2 Highlander lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Marissa Gagliano ended the contest on a walk-off three-run homer just minutes later in the inning to give Radford the 10-2 run-rule-shortened win. Abby Morrow picked up the win in the circle for Radford, allowing just the two home runs in six innings.

The Highlanders piled on in the second half of the doubleheader, this time not even allowing the Spartans to cross home plate in an 8-0 run-rule win.

In the second inning with the bases loaded, Gagliano drew a walk off of Megan Przeslawski on a 3-2 count to send Summer Robinson home for the game’s first score. Sofia Tapia followed up with a single to bring home two runners with the bases still loaded for a 3-0 Radford lead after two innings.

Three more runs were scored in the fourth inning as Gagliano and Mundy teamed up to drive three runs home for a 6-0 Radford lead. The game was ended in the fifth inning after Robinson hit a two-run blast over left field for an 8-0 Highlander win.

Radford took a trip to Boiling Springs, N.C. the following weekend for a three-game series against the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (11-22).

On Saturday, Radford used a strong six innings from Morrow to collect a 6-4 win in game one of a doubleheader.

Both teams were held scoreless for the first three innings, until a Kayla Bishton triple in the top of the fourth inning scored both Mundy and Tapia for a 2-0 Radford lead. A Mundy RBI-single in the following inning extended the Highlander lead to 3-0.

Lindsey Toneygay, pinch-hitting for Morrow, then hit her first collegiate home run in the sixth inning with a two-run homer to stretch Radford’s lead to 5-0. A Rowe sacrifice fly in the seventh made it 6-0 for the visiting Highlanders.

The Bulldogs almost clawed back in a Morrow error and a three-run homer cut the deficit to 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the senior Radford pitcher closed the game strong to preserve the Radford win.

In game two of the Saturday doubleheader, Gardner-Webb used a strong sixth inning to propel themselves over Radford.

This time, the Bulldogs struck first after drawing a bases-loaded walk off of Kayla Huffman in the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead.

Radford was able to tie the game on a Rowe RBI-single in the sixth inning, but Gardner-Webb used a Kaylee Wacaster double and an Alia Booth two-RBI single to guide them to a 4-1 victory.

In the Sunday rubber match, Radford fended off another late Gardner-Webb rally for a 5-4 victory and series win.

Rowe started things off well for the Highlanders when she hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning for an early Highlander lead.

The next three innings were quiet before two singles from Bishton and Mundy in the fifth inning drove in two more runs for Radford to give them a 4-0 lead. A Tapia single in the sixth inning extended the Highlander lead to 5-0.

The Bulldogs again refused to go down quietly in the seventh inning, using two doubles to drive in three runners for a suddenly uncomfortable 5-3 Radford lead.

Huffman came on for the save in place of Morrow, who had pitched six runs of scoreless ball before the seventh inning, and mitigated the damage to only one more run to secure the 5-4 Highlander win. It was Huffman’s first save of the season.

Radford softball will next travel to take on the East Carolina University Pirates on Wednesday for a one-match outing before taking on Charleston Southern at home for the weekend in a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday.