Despite an outstanding pitching performance from senior Michael Green, the third-seeded Winthrop baseball team fell 4-2 to top-seeded Radford on Friday morning’s Big South Conference tournament semifinals game at Gardner-Webb.
The Eagles finish the season 40-19, their best record since 2006.
Radford catcher Josh Reavis played a key role in the win as he made the defensive play of the game in the seventh inning and hit a two-run homer to left centerfield in the bottom of the eighth.
Green took the loss, throwing a career-high eight innings and allowing four runs on six hits while striking out a career-high eight batters. Dylan Nelson earned the win, giving up two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
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Radford took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Reavis singled and advanced to second on a walk by Patrick Marshall. Danny Hrbeck and Aaron Scoville then hit back to back singles up the middle to drive home Reavis and Marshall.
The Eagles tied it up in the sixth inning with runs from Tyler Asbill and Brad Kaczka. Asbill singled to right field before back to back singles by Kaczka and Anthony Paulsen loaded the bases with one out. John Menken walked to score Asbill and Kaczka came home on sacrifice fly by Babe Thomas.
Winthrop looked to take the lead in the seventh inning with runners on the corners with one out but Asbill struck out and Jace Whitley was tagged out at the plate by Reavis when he tried to score on a pitch that bounced a few feet away from the Highlander catcher. Reavis made a diving tag to barely get Whitey to end the inning.
After Green held the Highlanders to just two hits in six straight innings, Reavis hit what proved to be the game winning two-run homer.
Winthrop fought to the end as the Eagles put runners on the corners with nobody out in the ninth inning, but Radford closer Ryan Meisinger wiggled out of trouble and preserve the win for Radford which is looking to win its first-ever Big South Conference championship.
Despite the outcome Winthrop coach Tom Riginos is proud of his team.
“This game just shows what this team has done all year. Even in the ninth inning, down two runs, they battled until the end. This team just has so much heart.”
Riginos also pointed to key components of the team’s success.
“First of all, Michael pitched an amazing game. I can’t say enough about this group of seniors. Every day, they were there for me and I really appreciate this senior class.”