ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Radford rallied for eight runs in the top of the ninth inning as the Highlanders pulled out a 12-6 Big South Conference win over UNC Asheville Friday night at Greenwood Field.
The Bulldogs (13-34, 4-17 BSC) led 5-1 in the eighth inning but allowed the Highlanders to score three times in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-4. RU scored eight runs in the ninth to pick up their 13th straight win over Asheville.
Radford (28-19, 13-9 BSC) shortstop Chris Coia led the comeback with a two-run single in the eighth and a two-run single in the ninth that put the visitors in front for good,
The loss spoiled a brilliant performance by Asheville starter Dean Roland. He pitched seven innings, limiting the powerful Radford offense to just two hits and one run. Roland struck out a career-high 10 hitters, while walking three.
Trailing 5-4 entering the ninth inning, Radford quickly went to work against Bulldog reliever Corey Randall. Alexander Lee led off with a double. He went to third on a single to Hunter Higgerson. Shane Johnsonbaugh’s RBI-single tied the game at 5-5.
With the bases loaded and one out, Coia delivered another two-run single to put Radford in front for good at 7-5.
Patrick Marshall added a two-run single to pad the margin to 9-5. The Highlanders scored three more times to take a 12-5 lead.
Asheville was led at the plate by Kyle Towles with three hits and a double. Hunter Bryant added two hits, both doubles, and scored two runs.
RU reliever Michael Costello (3-2) earned the win with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. He allowed just two hits.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Robert McIntosh singled. He scored on Bryant’s run-scoring double that knotted the game at 1-1.
Asheville took the lead with one run in the second inning. Miller led off with a walk before going to third on a single from Towles. Derek Smith’s sacrifice fly put the Dogs in front 2-1.
The home team tacked on three more runs in the third. Tanner Bush led off with a bunt single. Phillip Treadway’s run-scoring double pushed the lead to 3-1. With two outs and the bases loaded, Eli Miller’s two-run double down the right-field line increased the Bulldogs lead to 5-1.
Radford opened the scoring in the first inning. Josh Reavis walked with one out. He went to second on a wild pitch before scoring on Marshall’s first hit, a single to center, as the Highlanders led 1-0.
Trailing 5-1, the Highlanders rallied against the Asheville bullpen to score three times to cut the lead to 5-4. Johnsonbaugh’s pinch-hit single cut the lead to 5-2.
One out later, Coia’s two-run single narrowed the lead to 5-4. RU loaded the bases with two outs and Marshall coming to bat. Reliever Nick Schavone managed to strike out Marshall to end the threat.
The teams will play the second game of their three-game series Saturday at 5 p.m.