RADFORD, VA— The Winthrop softball team ran into a hot swinging Radford squad as it ended the regular season with a 16-3 loss, Sunday afternoon in Big South Conference softball action.
The loss drops the Eagles to 25-27 on the year and they finish league play with a 12-12 mark. The win completed the series sweep for Radford as it improves to 20-34 overall and 13-11 in the conference.
Winthrop has now lost 13 straight to the Highlanders, but the Eagles will have a chance to end that streak on Thursday when the two teams meet on the opening day of the Big South Conference Championship. Winthrop will be the fifth seed in the tournament and will face Radford, which earned the fourth seed by sweeping the Eagles over the weekend. The conference championship tournament will be held May 9-12 in Rock Hill, SC.
The Eagles were on the scoreboard first as Chelsey Schoenfeldt singled through the right side with two outs, scoring Kristy Noble after she reached on a fielder’s choice.
Radford responded with three runs in the bottom of the first and then tacked on six in the bottom of the second for a 9-1 lead. The big hit in the bottom of the first for the Highlanders came off the bat of Emily Naegele as she had a two-RBI double to center for a 2-1 lead. Naegele eventually scored on a two-out error by the Eagles for a 3-1 lead.
Starter Sutton Watson started off the bottom of the second with a strikeout and then got the next batter to foul out to left field, but the ball was dropped after the error by McKenzi Corn. That allowed Casey Burns another opportunity at the plate and Watson hit her to get the six-run second started for Radford. Burns then stole second and Watson then hit Becky Mantel to put runners at first and second. That was followed by a single through the hole at short to load the bases. At this point a pitching change was made and Sara Allen replaced Watson. Jessie Hutchens singled to left field that scored Burns for a 4-1 lead and then Naegele walked with the bases loaded to make it 5-1. That brought up Morgan Eye who delivered a blow to the Eagles as she took a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for a grand slam and a 9-1 advantage.
The Eagles got two back in the top of the third as Noble reached base with two outs on a double to right, which was followed by a Corn home run to center.
However, Radford’s offense didn’t cool off as it added seven more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Jessica Agee’s two-run single along with Mantel’s three-run home run to center highlighted the fourth for the Highlanders.
Watson started the game for the Eagles and took the loss as she falls to 15-14 after allowing six runs (five earned) on three hits and three strikeouts. Allen tossed 2.1 innings of relief as she allowed eight runs (seven earned) on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Jackie Jenkins earned the win for Radford as she allowed three runs on six hits with a walk in four innings and is now 5-21 on the year.
Schoenfeldt finished the game 2-for-2 with an RBI as she extends her current hitting streak to eight games while Corn’s fourth home run of the season pushed her hitting streak to six games. Schoenfeldt now has 55 RBI on the year and is five shy of the school’s single-season record.