Patrick Marshall

RU BATS COME TO LIFE IN 7-4 WIN AT JACKSONVILLE

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Radford evened its series Saturday with Jacksonville as the Highlanders broke open a tie game in the sixth with a five-run inning that led to a 7-4 victory over the Dolphins.

The Highlanders broke on top in the second when Hunter Higgerson came around to score an unearned run on a JU throwing error.  The Dolphins would answer back in the fourth to tie the game on a Ethan Loosen RBI double and then take the lead when Loosen scored on a sacrifice fly.

That lead was short-lived, however, when Ryan Burgess was hit by pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the tying run in the top of the fifth.

Radford put the game out of reach in the sixth. Chris Coia's RBI fielder's choice gave the Highlanders the lead for good, but there was plenty more to come in the inning. Josh Gardiner followed with an RBI double, and Coia eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2. Jeff Kemp drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Burgess drove in the final run for RU with an RBI single to make it 7-2.

The Dolphins made it interesting in the ninth. Still trailing 7-2 entering the bottom of the inning, JU scored a pair of runs and brought the winning run to the plate, but Coia made an impressive defensive play to end the game in center field to finalize RU's first win of the season.

Two freshmen combined impressively on the mound in the win. Michael Boyle worked 4.1 innings in his first career start and gave up two runs on three Jacksonville hits. He struck out three. Dylan Nelson (1-0) got the victory in relief. He also clocked 4.1 innings and gave up two runs on five hits. Michael Costello gave up a hit and a walk, but recorded the final out with the bases loaded.

"Boyle and Nelson competed and battled all day," RU head coach Joe Raccuia said. "They threw strikes, and we had a clean game defensively. We need to learn to finish the game and get the 27th out."

Coia finished the day 3-4 with a pair of runs scored. Gardiner and Alexander Lee were both 2-5 with a run scored as well.

The Highlanders and Dolphins play the deciding game of the series Sunday at 1:00 p.m. from Session Stadium.

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