Radford defeated Winthrop 7-6, earns program's 600th victory
ROCK HILL, S.C. -- When the final out was recorded in a 7-6 triumph at Winthrop, Radford won its 600th game and earned a Big South series win on a very windy afternoon at Terry Field.
The Eagles (17-18, 5-7 Big South) edged the Highlanders (9-17, 3-3), 8-7, in game one of the doubleheader, but responded in the nightcap to take the rubber game. The Highlanders hit five home runs on the day, two by sophomore Casey Burns, and recorded 16 hits in the two games.
Game 2 -- Radford 7, Winthrop 6
Pinch runner Megan Honaker scored the game-winning run in the top of the seventh and Rachael Walters shut down the Eagles in the bottom half of the inning to preserve a 7-6 win in the series finale.
The Highlanders held 5-2 and 6-4 leads before the Eagles evened the game in the bottom of the sixth. However, Radford responded in the top of the seventh, which was started by leadoff double by freshman Julie Gardner.
Honaker came into run and moved to third when a grounder went through the shortstop's legs. On a chopper to third, Honaker took off on the throw to first and made a great slide at home avoiding the catcher's tag and scoring the winning run.
Walters worked around a leadoff walk to Winthrop's top hitter Kenzie Corn and struck out the final batter with Corn standing on second with the tying run.
Sophomore Casey Burns went 2-for-3 with a 3-run home run for the second straight game and finished the series, 5-for-9 with 7 RBI. Sophomore Whitney Davis was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI.
Freshman Abby Morrow picked up her second win of the weekend and improved to 4-4 with an efficient start in the circle. In six innings, she scattered nine hits and allowed six runs, only two of which were earned. Morrow struck out five and walked one.
Winthrop took advantage of Radford miscues and scored two unearned runs on back-to-back squeeze play to take a 2-0 lead in the first.
Radford continued its long ball prowess as Davis hit the game-tying two-run home run down the leftfield line in the second. One inning later, Burns sent opposite field shot to right center for a three-run round tripper, putting the Highlanders ahead, 5-2 with two outs in the third.
The Eagles scrapped away with two more unearned runs in the fourth and evened it with two in the sixth. In between those innings, freshman Ashley Harris, who came in as a defensive replacement in the second, roped a two-out RBI single to left extending RU's lead to 6-4. It was her first collegiate hit and RBI.
Senior Jessie Hutchens, who recorded a hit in each game, extended her hitting streak to eight and scored a pair of runs in the finale.
Game 1 -- Winthrop 8, Radford 7
Despite hitting three home runs and owning 3-0 and 7-5 leads, Radford could not hold on and fell in Game 1 8-7.
Highlighted by back-to-back homeruns from Hutchens and Gardner, Radford reclaimed the lead, 7-5, with a four-run sixth. But for the second time, Winthrop responded in the bottom half of the frame and took the lead for good on a three-run home run by Megan Winningham.
An error and a misplayed fly ball allowed the first two runners of the inning to reach. Following the first out, Winningham took advantage of the miscues and connected on a 0-2 pitch for the game-winning hit.
Burns finished 2-for 3 with three RBI. Sophomore Nia Chiles also had two hits and scored two runs. Hutchens' long ball in the sixth moved her into a tie for eighth on the all-time list with 22.
After three scoreless innings, each team scored three runs in their respective halves of the fourth. Burns laced a two-out three-run home run to left center giving RU a 3-0 advantage. Her long ball was made possible by a dropped fly ball two batters earlier.
The Eagles didn't take long to even the score. A one-out RBI double by Alex White, followed by a two-run home run to left by Kelsy Ritter making it a 3-3 ball game. They would score two more on a pair of RBI singles in the fifth.
Junior Kelsey Weddle suffered the defeat in two innings of relief. She surrendered three runs, two earned, on four hits with three strikeouts. Three RU pitchers combined to strikeout eight with zero walks.