Radford sends JMU to 10th straight defeat
Matt Hillsinger homered and drove in four runs as Radford pulled away from a 3-3 tie to record an 8-3 victory over James Madison late Tuesday night in a non-conference baseball game at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
Radford improved to 11-10 overall and won for the seventh time in the last 10 meetings in the series. JMU fell to 5-15-1 overall with its 10th straight loss.
Originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m., the game was delayed until 8:51 p.m. due to heavy rain and lightning. The final out was recorded at 11:55 p.m.
After the delay, the teams were tied entering the fifth when Radford scored on a Jeff Kemp run-scoring triple and a Matt Hillsinger RBI single. The Highlanders then pulled away from the two-run game with three in the ninth to cap the 8-3 victory.
Starter Jake Palese claimed the victory to improve to 3-0 after allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits in five innings. Derrick Brewer and Jason Patten combined to allow just one hit over the final four innings with Patten recording his third save of the season.
Freshman Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) took the loss for JMU to fall to 0-2. Making his third career start, he allowed five runs on six hits with five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Freshman Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance) allowed three runs, though only one earned, on just two hits in 3 2/3 innings. Freshman Ben Garner (Burke, Va./Paul VI) struck out two in the ninth.
Hillsinger went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, including a three-run home run, and one run scored along with a the only walk of the game issued by JMU pitchers. Kemp was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. The duo combined for four of Radford’s eight hits in the game.
Junior second baseman Casey Goss (Springfield, Mo./Glendale) had two of JMU’s five hits. Senior designated hitter Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) walked, singled and scored a run while sophomore third baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) walked twice, singled and scored a run.
After the two-hour and 10-minute rain delay, Radford put a pair of runners on via a hit batter and Kemp single. Hillsinger then lifted a three-run home run to right center for a quick 3-0 RU lead.
JMU answered back in the bottom of the frame as Brown reached via a two-out single. He scored on the next play as Scott lifted a high fly to center that was dropped in a light rain. Goss added an RBI single to make it 3-2.
The Dukes found the tying run in the third as junior left fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) led off with a triple to the gap in right center. It was his second three bagger in as many games. Junior center fielder Cole McInturff (Centreville, Va./Westfield) drove him in one pitch later with a deep fly to left for a sacrifice fly to make it 3-3.
Radford reclaimed the lead in the fifth as center fielder Zach Costello led off the frame with a single and scored one out later on a triple by Kemp to the warning track in left center. After a pitching change, Hillsinger singled to right to make it 5-3.
JMU put runners on the corners with one out in the eighth before a caught stealing at second for the second out. A walk put runners back on the corners before a fielder’s choice up the middle ended the threat.
Following the missed opportunity for the Dukes, Radford put the first two runners on in the ninth via hit by pitches. With the fielders in motion as catcher Daniel Wright showed bunt, he executed a perfect slash play, sending the pitch through the vacated spot in the left side of the infield for an RBI single to make it 6-3. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners and a strikeout made it two outs. The Dukes were poised to get out of it before a missed fly ball in left extended the inning to allow two more runs to score and make it 8-3.
JMU jumps back into Colonial Athletic Association action this weekend with a three-game set at Georgia State with games at 6 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.