Radford baseball makes history
When Shane Johnsonbaugh slapped a single to right field in the eighth inning against Indiana University on the last day of May, it was more than another hit for the Highlander outfielder. It proved to be a significant milestone for the Radford University baseball team.
Johnsonbaugh's hit drove in a run for the Highlanders and broke a 3-3 tie with the Hoosiers. Radford went on to win the game 5-3 and secured a win for the Highlanders baseball team, keeping them alive in the regional competition of the NCAA national baseball tournament.
The day before, Radford had rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Lipscomb University, 5-2, the first ever national tournament win for the Highlanders baseball team in the program's history.
Making it to the national tournament's regional competition was another first for the team. After a record-breaking season in which Radford won the Big South Conference's regular season and tournament titles, the Highlanders qualified for the regionals in Nashville, Tennessee, competing against Indiana of the Big 10 Conference, Lipscomb and Vanderbilt University, the defending national champions.
The Highlanders finished the season with a 45-6 record, a new team high for wins, but fell to Vanderbilt the next day to drop out of the tournament. However, Coach Joe Raccuia, his players, and the team's supporters cannot help but be elated about the Highlanders' success.
"I would first and foremost like to thank my team for a record-breaking season," Raccuia said after the season finale against Vanderbilt. "Forty-five wins, not a lot of losses, first place in the regular season, Big South Tournament Championship."
Raccuia, the Big South's Coach of the Year, said he was proud of the team for bouncing back and winning two games in the tournament after dropping the opening game to Indiana.
"It was disappointing that it finished like this, but that is not going to be the trademark of this season," Raccuia said. "The trademark of this season is a 45-16 record and separating ourselves from a lot of people at our level."
This season, the Highlanders achieved a list of milestones longer than a home run blast out of Radford Baseball Stadium. Those milestones include:
- Finished 45-16 overall, 20-4 Big South
- RPI climbed to as high as No. 12 in the nation
- Earned national rankings for first time in program history
- School-record 15-game winning streak
- Joe Raccuia – all-time winningest coach in program history
- Patrick Marshall – All-Big South First Team
- Josh Gardiner – All-Big South First Team
- Hunter Higgerson – All-Big South First Team
- Michael Boyle – All-Big South First Team
- Ryan Meisinger – All-Big South First Team
- Josh Reavis – Big South All-Academic Team
- Hunter Higgerson – Big South Tournament MVP
- Brad Keen – Big South All-Tournament Team
- Josh Reavis – Big South All-Tournament Team
- Michael Boyle – Big South All-Tournament Team
- Ryan Meisinger – Big South All-Tournament Team