RU’s 23-game win streak against UNCA snapped

Leading the whole game, Radford saw its five-run lead disappear as UNC Asheville scored five runs in the ninth and two in the 10th, snapping the Highlanders 23-game winning streak in the series with a 7-6 comeback victory in the final game of the Sunday doubleheader.

Four different Highlanders finished with two hits each, highlighted by a two-hit and three-RBI performance from Straton Podaras. Kyle Butler, Anthony Miano and Matt Roth joined Podaras with two hits each.

Radford continued its dominating performance at the plate as Adam Whitacre led off the game with a first pitch single to left field, scoring five pitches later on a Butler double down the left field line for the early 1-0 lead.

Radford starter Ryan Sande kept the lead intact, working out off back-to-back jams in the second and third innings. The second saw UNC Asheville put runners on first and second with a walk and fielding error. The righty used a looking strikeout to end the threat.

UNC Asheville threatened again in the third as Carmine Pagano doubled down the left field line, later swiping third base. Kyle Carruthers put two Bulldogs on base with a two-out walk, stealing second base, putting two runners in scoring position.

The Radford sophomore dug deep, striking out Joe Tietjen looking to strand two runners on base in back-to-back frames. Sande finished the day with five strikeouts in five innings, yielding only three hits and two walks.

Having good success with two outs on the day, Radford put two runners on in the fourth via a pair of singles from Miano and Roth. Making his first start since April 18, Podaras singled through the left side, scoring Miano for the second run of the game.

Podaras struck again in the top of the sixth with another two-out base hit. Miano reached on his second single and Roth walked, setting up Podaras for a double down the left field line, extending the Radford lead to 4-0.

The Highlanders added a fifth insurance run in the seventh as the run came as their fourth two-out run of the contest. Butler set up the run on a single, advancing to second on a balk and third on a stolen base. Jonathan Gonzalez provided the much-needed insurance run with a single to left field.

Following Sande, Radford’s bullpen had tossed three innings of no-hit baseball, before Mack Krupp came on to finish out the game in the ninth. UNC Asheville touched Krupp up for two extra base hits and two walks in the inning.

Pulling within 5-3, the Bulldogs knotted the game up with a Pagano RBI double and Danny Wilson sacrifice fly.

Radford quickly answered back in the 10th inning, loading the bases on the first three batters. Miano walked and Roth singled to put runners on the corners. Mason Scoville was called upon for safety squeeze bunt. Scoville’s bunt bounced straight in front of the mound, but reached first safely on a fielding error by the Bulldog pitcher.

Following a Luke Wise fielders’ choice ground ball that forced Miano out at home, Whitacre gave the Highlanders a 6-5 lead with a bases loaded walk. Radford was unable to extend the lead after a fly out and ground out ended the inning.

UNC Asheville loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning, knotting the game at six on a Kole Harris sac fly and take a 7-6 walk-off win on a Joe Gruszka single to left field.

Ryan Sande turned in his start as a Highlanders, giving up no runs in five innings, allowing only three hits. Sande matched a career-high five strikeouts in the outing, he has 10 strikeouts in his last eight innings pitched.

Evan Threehouse, Colin Reid and Cameron Fritz combined to throw three innings of no-hit ball in relief. The trio combined to throw only 36 pitches.

The weekend series saw Radford’s pitching staff combine for 36 punch outs. Krupp’s seven earned runs are the most allowed by a Radford relief pitcher this season.

Straton Podaras finished with his second career two-hit game and his second multi-RBI game, finishing with a career best three RBIs. Kyle Butler has four straight two-hit games, giving him 17 multi-hit games on the season.

Matt Roth’s two-hit game is his 12th on the season and 14th multi-hit game. Anthony Miano and Roth finished with two runs scored apiece.

Radford scored 24 runs in the series, all coming as a RBI. The Highlanders swiped 10 bases in the series, stealing 20 in the last seven games. In the last six games, Radford has collected double-digit hits, tallying 34 in the series. Radford left 12 runners on base in the loss and 29 in the series.

“I’m proud of the way we played this weekend. We fought through weather issues throughout the weekend. We would have loved the take the sweep, but we’ll take another Big South series win. [Ryan] Sande turned in a strong performance today that gave us a chance to win. Offensively, we put up several runs, but left a lot on the board,” said Radford head coach Joe Raccuia.

— Courtesy of RU Athletics

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