Hoping to clinch the series, Connor Thomas (5-3, 3.04) faced freshman LHP Hunter Williams (1-3, 4.84). Thomas hoped to build on his 17 strikeout complete game win last Saturday. Again, neither started figured in the decision, although Thomas had really earned a win. Instead, the Jackets waited until the 10th to clinch the game, which had seemed well in hand after six.
The game started with Radford putting two on with no outs, but Thomas pitched out of it, helped by a grounder hitting one of the base runners for an out. The Jackets took advantage of a couple of hits and a sacrifice fly to score three in the bottom of the 1st, with Tristin English’s double the big blow.
Radford struck back with two in their 2nd by leading off with a single and double; both scored on groundball outs to make it 3-2. Tech left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning but in Tech’s 3rd, Oscar Serratos hit his third homerun of the year, a two out solo, to make it 4-2.
In the bottom of the 4th, Radford pulled their starter after he walked Nick Wilhite with one out. Junior LHP Andrew Nardi came in to face Bailey, whom he walked along with Bart to load the bases. But the Jackets could only score one on Murray’s sacrifice fly to make it 5-2. They added another two out run in their 5th when Austin Wilhite and Colin Hall singled and the shortstop airmailed the throw to first on Nick Wilhite’s grounder, allowing his brother to score and make it 6-3. CT had his only 1-2-3 inning in the Radford 6th and the Jackets plated another in the bottom of the inning when Bart doubled to lead off and came around on sacrifice flies by Murray and English to make it a seeming comfortable 7-3. But, Hugh Chapman relieved Thomas for the 7th and unfortunately got into trouble after one out with a single, a questionable walk, and back-to-back close plays at first that were both safe, making it 7-3 with the bases still loaded. Jake Lee came into the tough relief spot and gave up two singles to make to score 7-6, still with only one out and runners at 1st and 2nd. Jared Datoc came in to try and get Radford out with some lead remaining and he did so with a comebacker to the mound and a strikeout.
In the Tech 7th, Austin Wilhite walked and pinch hitter Baron Radcliff started his night of heroics by hitting a bullet off the right field wall to put runners on the corners with one out. Radford brought in freshman sidearm right Cody Boone to face Bailey. Wade hit a ball well right at the left fielder and he made a perfect throw home to get Wilhite for out three with it still 7-6.
Radford put runners on the corners with no outs in their 8th on a double and infield single and Robert Winborne came in to pitch with the lead very tenuous. A single quickly erased the lead and then after two outs another RBI single gave Radford a 8-7 lead before out three. But the Jackets quickly tied it up with a solo homerun by Chase Murray that just cleared the leaping centerfielder at the 390’ sign. Tech had a golden chance to take the lead but failed to do so with runners on the corners and two outs and Micah Carpenter came in to pitch the 9th.
After Carpenter retired Radford, Colin Hall legged out an infield single and Baron Radcliff singled before Bailey bunted them to 2nd and 3rd. Radford intentionally walked Bart and moved shortstop Colby Higgerson to the mound to face Murray. Unfortunately for Tech, he popped up Murray to the catcher and struck out English to put the game in extra innings.
After Carpenter pitched out of a couple of base runners in the 10th, Radford brought in redshirt sophomore Brandon Donovan to pitch. The Jackets got two on with no outs again, but then McCann let himself be picked off 2nd and Austin Wilhite struck out. They walked Hall to bring up Radcliff with Serratos on 2nd. Baron didn’t miss his pitch, as he blasted a no doubt three run homer over the right field wall for the Jackets’s second walk-off and first extra innings victory of 2018. As he was mobbed, the Radford coach tried to argue he’d passed Colin Hall on the base path before Serratos could score, but there was no TV for replay and nothing came of it. Micah Carpenter got his first win and Donovan the loss as Tech improved to 26-21 and hard-luck Radcliff fell to 20-26. Honestly, after watching this team for two days, I don’t understand their poor record, although they do make some damaging errors, but the fact remains Tech needs to complete the sweep Sunday.