ASHEVILLE, N.C. – For the second straight day, Radford rallied late to slip past UNC Asheville 4-2 in 10 innings in Big South Conference action Saturday evening at Greenwood Field.
The Highlanders (29-19, 14-9 BSC) trailed 2-0 in the top of the ninth inning but scored two runs on a two-out hit from Shane Johnsonbraugh with two outs to tie the game at 2-2.
In the 10th, RU scored twice on a throwing error and a bases loaded walk to earn its 14th straight win over the snake-bit Bulldogs (13-35, 4-18 BSC).
Asheville has lost 12 of its 18 BSC games when leading or tied in the seventh inning or beyond. Saturday’s loss was the fourth straight league loss where the Bulldogs have led in the eighth inning. It’s the third straight defeat where they’ve led in the ninth inning.
Robert McIntosh led Asheville at the plate with three hits and some great play at third base. He moved into eighth place on the school’s all-time career hit list and now has 209 hits. Hunter Bryant, Tommy Houmard and Phillip Treadway all had two hits for the Blue & White.
The loss spoiled a brilliant pitching performance by freshman Joe Zayatz for Asheville. He pitched eight innings, allowing six hits and one run. He struck out five and did not walk a hitter. Zayatz retired 14 straight hitters until allowing an infield single to Josh Reavis leading off the ninth inning.
The Bulldogs went to their bullpen after Reavis reached first. Left-hander Nick Schavone was able to get Highlander DH Patrick Marshall out on a pop-up.
Ethan Steible relieved Schavone and walked Alexander Lee to put runners on first and second. With two outs, Johnsonbraugh’s double down the right-field line plated two runs to knot the game at 2-2.
In the 10th, Brad Keen led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Chris Coia singled to left to put runners on first and second.
Josh Gardiner’s sacrifice bunt was thrown away allowing Keen to score to give RU a 3-2 lead. Nygeal Andrews walked with the bases loaded to score another run for the Highlanders to pad the lead to 4-2.
Radford reliever Ryan Meisinger (5-1) pitched out of trouble in the ninth and 10th innings to earn the win. In the 10th, Asheville used a walk, a hit and two stolen bases to get the tying runs in scoring position with one out. But Meisinger struck out the final two hitters of the game to allow RU to escape with the victory.
Asheville struck for two runs in the first inning off Highlander starter Michael Boyle. Phillip Treadway had a one-out single. McIntosh singled him to third. Eli Miller and Tommy Houmard followed with RBI-singles to get the Dogs in front 2-0.
Boyle pitched well after the rocky first and did not allow the Bulldogs to score any more runs after the opening inning. He pitched out of a bases-loaded one-out situation in the bottom of the eighth. He scattered 10 hits, struck out eight and walked just one.
The Bulldogs and Radford finish the series Sunday at 1 p.m.