JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 1, 2013) – Freshman right-hander Peyton Taylor (Kingsport, Tenn.) took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but Jordan Taylor’s two-out, two-run scoring single in the top of the seventh gave Radford its first lead of the night and the Highlanders rallied for a 4-2 victory on Monday at Thomas Stadium.
Taylor – who was making his first collegiate start – was untouchable midway through the game as he retired 13 of the first 14 Radford hitters he faced before Alexander Lee recorded a one-out triple to center in the top of the fifth. Unfortunately, the Buccaneer rookie was given the loss (0-1) after allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings of work. The Highlanders countered with a freshman of their own as left-hander Mitchell MacKeith earned a no-decision after issuing two runs on six hits in 5.2 innings, but Oliver Powers earned his first win of the year (1-0) after registering one out in the sixth. Meanwhile, Michael Costello picked up the save by surrendering only one hit in 1.2 innings out of the bullpen.
Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) finished with two-hit games as the Bucs outhit Radford, 9-8. Taylor went 2-for-5 with a double and stolen base, while Riopedre finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) and Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) drove in the runs for the Blue and Gold.
The Bucs got off to a strong start at the plate as ETSU generated four of its nine hits in the first two innings and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Niesman plated the first run of the game when his double to left-center scored Riopedre – who reached on a two-bagger to right-center – while Niesman then hustled home on Reynolds’ one-out single to right, giving the Blue and Gold a two-run cushion.
From there, the starting pitchers were dealing as MacKeith didn’t allow another run to come home since the second inning, but he was pulled with two outs in the sixth as ETSU had runners on first and second. Unfortunately, the Blue and Gold were unable to add to their lead when Powers came out of the bullpen and induced Riopedre into an inning-ending fly out to right.
Taylor was in a zone as he took a no-hitter into the fifth, but Lee’s one-out triple to center marked Radford’s first hit of the game, while he scored on Hunter Higgerson’s sacrifice fly, making it a 2-1 ballgame.
Radford eventually took its first lead of the night by plating a pair of two-out runs in the top of the seventh to jump ahead, 3-2. Taylor looked to have been on his way of working out of a one-out jam when he got Higgerson out looking on a 3-2 pitch with runners on second and third; however, Jordan Taylor sent a 1-2 pitch into center for the two-run scoring single, which gave the Highlanders the lead for good.
ETSU threatened in the bottom half of the inning when Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) reached on an infield single and advanced to third on Jeremy Taylor’s two-out double to left-center, but Radford made a solid defensive play to get out of the inning unscathed. Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) hit a slow roller between first and second – and with Lee not covering the bag – pitcher Jeff Maxwell sprinted over to first base to get the sliding Buccaneer outfielder out on a bang-bang play.
The Highlanders added to their lead in the eighth when Radford strung together three consecutive one-out singles and extended its lead to 4-2 on Ryan Burgess’ base-hit to left.
Once again, the Blue and Gold had a scoring chance go for nothing in the bottom of the eighth when ETSU had runners on first and second with one out, but the Highlanders kept their two-run intact. Riopedre hit into a fielder’s grounder to short, while Niesman just missed putting the Bucs ahead with a three-run homer, but Zach Woolcock made the game-saving catch on the warning track in left to end the inning.
Costello retired five of the six ETSU hitters he faced out of the bullpen to receive the save and secure the two-run win for the Highlanders.
Like the Bucs, Radford had a pair of hitters finish with two-hit games as Burgess went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and run scored, while Sipe ended 2-for-4 with a run scored.
The Bucs look to bounce back into the win column on Tuesday when ETSU hosts Tennessee Tech at 7:05 p.m. from Thomas Stadium.
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