Radford upsets #4 UVa., 9-8

radford-logoThe fourth-ranked Virginia baseball team nearly dug its way out of an early eight-run hole but fell a run short in a 9-8 loss to Radford Wednesday evening at Davenport Field. Virginia (30-4) saw its five-game win streak come to an end, while Radford (20-11) extended its streak to eight straight victories.

Down five runs entering the ninth inning, Virginia scored four times in its last at-bat and put the potential winning run on first base before coming up short. UVa gave up three first-inning runs and six more in the second in falling behind 9-1.

Virginia finished with eight hits, with Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) picking up two, including a massive home run which cleared the scoreboard in right-center field in the sixth inning. Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.) added a pair of hits for the Cavaliers.

Making his first start since undergoing elbow surgery eight months ago, Artie Lewicki (Jr., Wyckoff, N.J.) pitched the first inning and took the loss. He gave up three runs (two earned) and a pair of hits while on a strict pitch count. Trey Oest (Fr., Dover, Fla.) relieved Lewicki in the second inning and was tagged for six earned runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Radford starter Dylan Nelson (4-2) earned the win after giving up four earned runs, four hits and three walks in six innings. Michael Costello left the potential winning run on base in the ninth inning to earn his seventh save.

Radford jumped out fast, scoring three times in the first against Lewicki. The first two batters reached base before Jeff Kemp hit a tailor-made double-play ball to shortstop Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.), who booted it for an error to load the bases. A Zach Woolcock groundout scored a run, and Alexander Lee followed with a two-run single to center.

UVa loaded the bases with none out in its half of the first and scored a run on a Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) sacrifice fly.

Radford sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six times in the second inning, marking the most runs allowed in an inning by Virginia this year. Oest relieved Lewicki and quickly got the first out before the next five batters reached base. Josh Reavis started the scoring with an RBI single and Kemp followed with a three-run bomb over the left-field bleachers to make it 7-1. Woolcock then singled and one out later Ryan Burgess singled. Oest was lifted for Josh Sborz (Fr., McLean, Va.), and Hunter Higgerson greeted him with a two-run double to left to push the lead to 9-1.

After allowing nine runs and eight hits over the first two innings, Virginia’s pitchers shut Radford down over the final seven frames, giving up just three hits and five baserunners. UVa slowly chipped away, getting a run in the fourth on a Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) home run to right-center and two in the sixth on a blast to right-center by Fisher.

Trailing 9-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, UVa loaded the bases with none out against reliever Daniel Bridgeman. Costello entered and got a pair of the flyouts, with the second from Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) bringing home a run. Cogswell singled to again load the bases and King followed with an infield single to bring in a run. Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) singled up the middle to score a pair of runs and pull UVa to within 9-8, but Costello got Downes to pop out to end the threat and the game.

The Cavaliers hit the road again this weekend (April 12-14) for a three-game series in Atlanta against No. 17 Georgia Tech. UVa returns home for four games next week, battling Old Dominion (April 17) before taking on No. 6 Florida State in a three-game series (April 19-21).

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