RADFORD, Va. - Alexander Lee had a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, scoring Jeff Kemp to give the Radford Highlanders a 4-3 win over the VMI Keydets in Big South baseball action Saturday afternoon in Radford, Va. The contest was game one of a doubleheader, and the middle game of a three-game weekend series.
After both teams had squandered chances late in the game, Kemp led off the Radford (10-7, 2-0 Big South) 10th with a double off VMI (6-14, 0-2 BSC) closer John Garrett. The next batter, Shane Johnsonbaugh, bunted back to the mound. Garrett fielded and quickly threw to third, where the tag was applied by Thomas Stallings, but Kemp was ruled safe on a disputed call. Ryan Burgess was then intentionally walked to load the bases, and Lee lofted a sacrifice fly over VMI's five-infielder alignment to give RU the win.
Offensively, the Keydets were led by four players who had two-hit games, including Brandon Angus, who opened the scoring with his first career home run. Jordan Tarsovich, who extended his hit streak to 10 games, Matt Winn and Sheldon Shifflett also had multi-hit games for the visitors. Kemp went 3 for 5 for the home team.
On the mound, Daniel Bridgeman picked up the win for RU to go to 2-1 on the year, one day after saving the first game of the series. Garrett fell to 0-2 by taking the loss, despite allowing just two hits over 2 2/3 innings.
The Keydets jumped ahead in the second inning, when Shifflett had a one-out single. One out later, he moved to second on a wild pitch and Angus followed with his first career home run, a two-run shot that got caught in the right-field wind current at RU.
Radford got on the board in the third, when Blake Sipe led off with a walk. One out later, Josh Reavis walked as well and Kemp doubled, scoring one run. Reavis then scored when Campbell Henkel uncorked a wild pitch, tying the game, 2-2. Zach Woolcock then lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Kemp to give the home team a 3-2 lead.
The Keydets could not score Shifflett after a one-out double in the fourth, nor could they get Tarsovich home after a two-out single and stolen base in the fifth. The visitors finally tied the game in the seventh, and nearly got even more. Angus led off with a single against reliever Jeff Maxwell, and after a sacrifice bunt, Winn laced a double down the left field line to score Angus and tie the game, 3-3. Tarsovich followed a bloop hit, putting runners at the corners with one out, but Ray Lopez struck out and Rob Dickinson was walked intentionally to load the bases.
That brought Bridgeman out of the bullpen, and Nick Dwyer hit a long drive down the right field line. Sipe, coming toward the right field line, made a head-long, diving, backhanded catch to save at least two runs, end the inning and keep the game tied.
Micah Gorman relieved Henkel to start the seventh, and Hunter Higgerson led off with a single. One out later, Sipe struck out and Andrew Montague relieved Gorman. Josh Gardiner and Reavis each walked, bringing Garrett out of the bullpen to face Kemp with the bases loaded. The Keydet closer induced a lazy fly ball to center field, ending the inning and preserving the 3-3 tie.
The visitors then rallied in the ninth, when Winn had a one-out single. Tarsovich followed with a fly ball to left that Johnsonbaugh tried to make a sliding catch on, but could not. As he held up his glove to show the ball to third base umpire Randall Dulin, the ball skimmed just behind him, allowing Tarsovich to take an extra base and grab a double. That brought Lopez to the plate with runners at second and third, but Bridgeman struck out the freshman third baseman. Dickinson was then walked, bringing up Dwyer with the bases loaded for the second time in three innings. This time, the shortstop struck out looking to end the inning.
Neither team threatened in its next at-bat, setting up the decisive home half of the 10th.
Neither starter figured in the decision, as Henkel went six innings and allowed three runs, while Boyle surrendered two scores over six innings of his own. The Keydets and Highlanders saw game three of their series, and the second game of their doubleheader, delayed due to rain in the Radford area.