Radford baseball's playoff run ends with loss to Xavier in Regional Play
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Radford Athletics) – Radford's magical two weeks came to an end as the Highlanders were unable to overcome a late 3-1 deficit in Saturday's Louisville Regional elimination game as the third seeded Xavier Musketeers held Radford hitless for the final six innings.
Fresh off a complete game in his third collegiate start, senior Kyle Zurak took the ball in the elimination game matchup. The Musketeers jumped on Zurak early, but the righty was able to strand a runner on third in the opening frame. The second inning saw Will LaRue open with a walk, advancing to second on a ground out. Xavier struck first on a Nate Soria single up the middle.
Finishing the contest with only two hits, Radford received its first in the top of the first inning as senior Danny Hrbek reached on an infield single to short and tallying its second in the top of the third.
Anthony Miano led the frame off with a hit by pitch and Luke Wise ripped a double down the first base line on an eight-pitch at bat. Racing from first to third, Miano received the stop sign, but was unable to stop immediately, diving back into the bag.
The only Highlander run came one batter later as Kyle Butler lifted a fly ball to left field, flying deep enough to score Miano from third and allowing Wise to tag up. Matt Roth struck out swinging to end the Radford threat.
Xavier took the lead in the fourth as Joe Gellenbeck reached on a dropped fly ball by Miano in left field. Gellebeck moved to third on a LaRue ground out. Mitch Gallagher followed with a first pitch ground ball to third base as Roth was able to make a diving stop on the laser and throw home from his knees. The throw was on target, but a muffed catch by Jonathan Gonzalez at the dish allowed Gellenbeck to slide in safely.
The Musketeers put runners on the corners, but Zurak came back with his fourth and final strikeout to end the threat. Xavier loaded the bases on Zurak in the fifth with two outs as Radford went to its bullpen, bringing on Evan Threehouse.
Threehouse's second pitch got past Gonzalez, allowing Xavier to plate an insurance run, which proved to be all they needed. Radford was unable to chip away at the deficit, only placing two runners on base in the final four frames.
After the wild pitch, Threehouse was lights as the freshman held Xavier to three hits over 3.2 innings of relief, striking out four batters.