RADFORD, Va. (April 22, 2013) – In a game where the teams combined for 24 runs on 29 hits, Radford slugged its way past ETSU as the Highlanders defeated the Bucs, 14-10, on Tuesday night at Radford Baseball Stadium.
The Blue and Gold scored one run in each of the first three innings, but the Highlanders used an eight-run third and four-run fifth to pound their way to a third straight win. Despite trailing 13-4 after five complete innings, ETSU scored six times in the sixth; however, freshman Nygeal Andrews closed out the game by tossing the final three innings of one-hit ball to register his first collegiate save.
All nine ETSU starters finished with at least one hit, with freshman Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) and junior Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) combining to go 6-for-9 with two doubles, three runs scored and four RBI. Sophomore Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) tallied a pair of doubles and scored twice, while Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) belted his ninth home run of the year and drove in two runs.
ETSU used six different pitchers on Tuesday night, but it was an unexpected arm that was able to send down the Radford hitters in order during the sixth and seventh innings. Senior right-hander Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) – who went 1-for-4 with one walk, one RBI and two runs scored, made his collegiate debut on the mound. Niesman was the most effective Buccaneer hurler as he struck out three of the six Highlander hitters he faced.
The Bucs suffered their third straight setback, marking the longest losing streak of the season as ETSU moved to 22-16 on the campaign. Meanwhile, Radford – who was coming off a series win over then-No. 26 ranked Coastal Carolina – improved to 23-16.
After being shutout for the first time in 2013 in their last outing on Sunday, the Blue and Gold struck early and often to take a 3-0 lead after two and a half innings of action. ETSU pushed across its first run in the top of the first when Freeman’s sac-fly scored Taylor – who led off the game with a single to left – while Matt Sorrow’s (Griffin, Ga.) two-out RBI double an inning later plated Niesman to give the Bucs a two-run advantage. For the third straight inning, the Blue and Gold used more two-out hitting to gain a three-run cushion when Freeman sent a 2-0 pitch over the fence in center.
Unfortunately, the Highlanders used a big inning in the bottom of the frame to take the lead for the remainder of the night as Radford scored eight runs on six hits to go ahead, 8-3. The first nine Highlander hitters reached base in the frame before junior left-hander Jared Burton (Knoxville, Tenn.) got Josh Gardiner – who started the inning with a walk – to hit into a sac-fly to center. Following a walk, the Highlanders ended the marathon inning by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play.
From there, Radford tacked on another run in the fourth and plated four more in the fifth, which extended the Highlanders’ lead to, 13-4.
ETSU exploded with its six-run sixth where the Blue and Gold generated RBIs from Niesman (single), Riopedre (double), Taylor (2-RBI single up the middle), Tritsch (double), while Andrew Green’s (Powell, Tenn.) single to center wrapped up the scoring plays in the frame. Freshman Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) continued the inning when he worked a five-pitch walk, to bring the tying run to the plate, but Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) hit into an inning-ending fly out to center.
Niesman then entered out of the pen for the first time in an ETSU uniform to cool off the Radford offense.
The Highlanders plated their final run of the contest on a fielder’s choice sac-bunt in the eighth to walk away with the four-run victory.
Freshman right-hander Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) suffered his fifth straight loss (2-5) as he was charged with four runs on three hits in two innings, while Radford’s freshman righty Dylan Nelson improved to 5-2 on the season. Nelson issued eight runs on 10 hits, while striking out four and walking three.
Eight different players accounted for the 15 Highlander hits, as first baseman Alexander Lee went 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored and two RBI. Lee was one of six Radford players to finish with a multi-hit game, while the Highlanders’ 4-thru-7 hitters made up eight of the 11 RBIs on the night.
The Blue and Gold now return home to open a four-game homestand when ETSU hosts Appalachian State Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m., at Thomas Stadium. Wednesday’s game versus the Mountaineers was originally scheduled for March 5, but inclement weather postponed the game to tomorrow night.
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