Kemp's long ball, Nelson's six innings on the hill power Radford by No. 5 Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Radford recorded one of its most notable victories in program history Wednesday with a narrow 9-8 upset of No. 5 Virginia at Davenport Field. The Highlanders defeated a top-10 team for the second time in their history.
The eight-game win streak for the Highlanders tied a school record set in 1989.
Radford (20-11) struck for three runs in the top of the first inning. Josh Gardiner led off the game with a walk followed by a Josh Reavis single. Jeff Kemp reached on an error, and Zach Woolcock plated the first run on a groundout. Alexander Lee singled home a pair of runs, and RU took a lead it did not surrender.
After the Cavaliers scored a run in the bottom half of the first, the Highlanders exploded for six runs on six hits in the second. The highlight was a Kemp three-run homer to left field. Reavis also knocked in a run with a single, and Hunter Higgerson delivered a two-run double to give the Highlanders a 9-1 lead.
Virginia (30-4) tallied a run in the fourth on a solo homer by Mike Papi, and added two more on a two-run homer in the sixth by Derek Fisher.
Dylan Nelson (4-2) lasted six innings and allowed four runs on four hits to earn the victory. Jeff Maxwell worked two innings of scoreless relief, and the Highlanders took a 9-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
After Daniel Bridgeman started the inning on the mound and was unable to get an out before the Cavaliers loaded the bases, closer Michael Costello came on to earn the save, but it wasn't without some tense moments for Radford fans.
The Cavaliers rallied for four runs, but Costello got clean-up hitter Brandon Downes to pop up with runners at first and second to end the game. The save was Costello's seventh of the season.