LEXINGTON, S.C. – The Radford Highlanders (18-38) used a 10-run eighth inning to defeat the Presbyterian College baseball team (27-30), 16-8, on Wednesday afternoon at the Big South Championship. The loss ends the season for Presbyterian after its first Big South Championship appearance.
PC racked up 14 hits in its final game of 2016 with six players recording two hits apiece. Senior Peter Johnson went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in his final game for the Blue Hose. Fellow seniors Weston Jackson and Jacob Midkiff each had two hits with both scoring a run and Midkiff driving in two. Senior Patrick Burt capped off his career with an RBI double. Tyler Weyenberg went 2-for-5 with a run, pushing his season total to 83.
Radford reliever Ryan Sande (3-0) earned the victory in relief with no runs and two hits allowed in 1.2 innings of work out of the bullpen. PC starter Tanner Chock (3-4) suffered the loss in his final start of the year, allowing seven runs but just three earned in 7.0 innings pitched with four strikeouts and four walks.
The big inning for the Highlanders came in the eighth, as they saw 10 runners cross the plate. The big hits in the inning were a Nygeal Andrews bases-clearing double for three runs and a bases-clearing triple by Danny Hrbek to score three runs. Chris Coia, Colby Higgerson, Shane Johnsonbaugh and Jonathan Gonzalez each drove in runs in the inning as well, as they jumped out to 14-6 lead. They would go on to add two more in the ninth on a two-RBI single by Coia.
Radford grabbed the lead with a three-run first inning. The Highlanders started things by putting runners on the corners with one out. They squeezed in the first run of the game on an RBI sac bunt by Johnsonbaugh that also allowed the runner on first to move to second with two outs. Two batters later, Andrews doubled to right center to score two and make it a 3-0 lead.
PC got on the board with a run in the second. Ryan Hedrick drew a one-out walk and moved to second on sacrifice bunt from Brett Auckland. Senior Burt then doubled to left to plate Hedrick and make it a 3-1 ballgame.
Radford extended its advantage with a run in the top half of the fourth on a sac fly by Adam Whitacre. PC added two runs to make it a one-run game in the bottom half of the inning. Hedrick and Auckland led off the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with no outs. Burt then moved both up ninety feet with a sacrifice bunt to both in scoring position with one out. Glen Casaceli would drive them in with a two-RBI double in to the right field corner to make it a 4-3 game.
The Blue Hose tied the game with a run in the fourth. Jackson doubled for the 27th time this season to lead off the inning and Johnson moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt, chasing Radford starter Mackeith from the game. Midkiff, facing the new pitcher Trevvett, came through in a big spot with an RBI double to right center to drive in Jackson and tie it at 4-4.
Presbyterian took its first lead of the game with two runs in the bottom half of the sixth. The Blue Hose loaded the bases the bases with one out after an intentional walk to Jackson, his 11th of the season. Johnson would break the tie with a two-RBI single to center to give his team the 6-4 lead.
After the big 10-run top half for Radford, PC cut in to the lead with a pair of solo home runs to left. Johnson hit his fourth homer of the year, before Midkiff hit his first homer of the year in his final at-bat at PC.
PC finishes the season tied for the school’s Division I era record for wins with 27. They set the school record for Big South wins with 12 during the regular season, resulting in a sixth place finish, its best ever in the conference.