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Opponent Preview: Radford

Meet the Highlanders... A team straight up not having a good time, bro!

Radford v Villanova Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Radford

Mascot: Moonshiner Predecessors | School Location: Radford, VA | Conference: Big South

2022 Record: 13-27 (6-12, 10th) | 2022 RPI Rank: 268

2021 Record: 23-23 (17-19, 5th) | 2021 RPI Rank: 166

2020 Record: 9-8 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 101


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Fri, Apr 29 @ 6:30pm | Sat, Apr 30 @ 6:30pm | Sun, May 1 @ 1:00pm

TV: Friday (ACCNX), Saturday (ACCNX), Sunday (ACCNX),

Radio: The Varsity Network (Friday | Saturday | Sunday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

Karl Kuhn has a tough rebuild at Radford, and this year is certainly a rebuilding year. There have been some bright spots along the way, including a pair of freshman hitters looking like key pieces to build around for the next several years, but overall it’s been a season of taking a lot of lumps.

The coaching staff brought in a bunch of transfers in the field and on the mound, but most have not panned out - at least not yet. Losing last year’s closer, Alex Perkins, early really hurt an already thin pitching staff. That staff has a cumulative ERA of 7.56 while allowing opponents to hit .292 against them. The team has also not been solid in the field with a .958 fielding percentage and has struggled to limit opponents from taking extra bases.

If you’re looking for a reason to be hopeful in the rebuild it’s that the offense is the group that’s ahead. As a team, Radford is hitting .275/.381/370. Yes, the power is lacking, but the on-base skills are great and there are some young pieces to build around. Kuhn’s track record is at developing pitchers, and Radford has to trust that he can do that given time.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Friday: RHP Gene McGough (rFR)

Saturday: TBD

Sunday: LHP Zach Davidson (JR)


Key Players:

Offense

SS David Bryant (SR) - .309/.446/.464, 11 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 19 R, 22 RBI, 21 BB, 17 K, 7 HBP, 3-6 SB. Left-handed two-hole hitter has been the best offensive weapon for the Highlanders over the past two years. Refined approach and more pop than his above numbers indicate.

CF Cameron Pittman (FR) - .301/.424/.370, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 34 R, 19 RBI, 27 BB, 13 K, 4 HBP, 10-14 SB. Currently riding a seven-game hitting streak with multiple hits in six of those games. Has an advanced approach for his age and could develop into a dangerous hitter as he adds muscle and strength. He’s a future top-of-the-order hitter even though he’s batting down in the order now.

2B Ty Dooley (FR) - .342/.405/.432, 9 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 18 R, 24 RBI, 8 BB, 22 K, 9 HBP, 9-12 SB. Young guy that will be a cornerstone player for the program for the next few years. Has cooled off of late, but was really hot in March when he tallied hits in 15 of 18 contests.

3B Bradlee Preap (JR) - .298/.410/.413, 8 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 26 R, 21 RBI, 12 BB, 20 K, 11 HBP, 1-2 SB. Dude has been killing it in Big South play with a 1.040 OPS and is their best candidate for All-Conference honors this year. Also does some catching for the team.

Pitching

RHP Gene McGough (rFR) - 0-6, 17.32 ERA, 17.2 IP, 24 H, 21 BB, 13 K. Pretty big recruit in 2020 for the program, but did not play at all last year. High leg kick provides a bit of funk to the delivery, but he has a good fastball in the low 90’s.

LHP Zach Davidson (JR) - 1-3, 6.42 ERA, 40.2 IP, 39 H, 21 BB, 35 K. JUCO transfer from Lincoln Trail. Has started all ten of his appearances, but is averaging just over 4.0 innings per outing despite tossing a complete game against High Point two weeks ago. That game was a gem, though: 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.

LHP Peyton Reesman (SR) - 4-1, 3.53 ERA, 43.1 IP, 39 H, 22 BB, 43 K. Has made six starts on the year, but has really been a swingman for the club. He’s been their best pitcher, though.

RHP John Holobetz (FR) - 2-2, 2 SV, 6.59 ERA, 27.1 IP, 33 H, 11 BB, 24 K. Not sure if you’d call him the closer, but he leads the team in saves. 6’3 righty has been better in conference play and shows some promise. Struck out 7 over 3.2 IP in his last outing against UNC Asheville.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Radford has a pitcher by the name of Will Hunt. I really hope his nickname is “That Dog”.

The Highlanders also have a pitcher named Storm Mace. Serious All-Name Team candidates here.

Only four Radford baseball alums have made it to the MLB, but two of them have been in recent years. RHP Eddie Butler appeared from 2014-2018 with the Rockies, Cubs, and Rangers. RHP Ryan Meisinger appeared from 2018-2021 with the Orioles, Cardinals, and Cubs, and is currently in AAA for the Diamondbacks.

The 2015 and 2017 NCAA Regional appearances are the only two in program history.


Prediction

Even though State is in good position with regards to the postseason right now, they really need a sweep this weekend since Radford has such a bad RPI and a single loss will hurt significantly. Still, Radford’s a team with just enough hitting and just enough pitching that they could eek out a win.

Outcome: Sweeps are hard. The Pack take two out of three.