Radford University is located in Radford, Virginia, for those of you who have been wondering all week but haven't cared enough to Google it. According to the ever-credible Wikipedia, Radford was founded in 1910 and has just under 10,000 students. They also have alumni, although how "notable" they are is debatable. The biggest name I saw on the list was Frank Beamer, who used to be a good football coach, but now is too old to recruit quality players and maintains his job by resting on his laurels and making (stupid bowl game that shouldn't exist, and wouldn't exist if ESPN couldn't make a bagillion dollars off of it) appearances. In addition to the coach who has won more games off special teams than any other coach, Radford has some guy who plays for the Globetrotters, a former mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, and a dude who is the TV color analyst for the Columbus Crew.
Seriously. Those are some of the people listed as most notable alumni on the Wiki page. Click that link above if you don't believe me.
But aside from the unimpressive everything about the University, Radford's baseball team is excellent. If you don't believe me, here's what they have to say about themselves:
All kidding aside, they're on a run that is impressive no matter what league you play in. And Coastal Carolina, who they've defeated four times, is a tournament team.
Indiana will have its hands full on Friday in the regional opener. LHP Kyle Hart, who will start for the Hoosiers, will face six right-handed batters if Radford uses the same lineup it used in the Big South tournament final. And in that lineup, there are four batters hitting over .325 and another three guys hitting .275 or better. That's stupid, OK?
Are those numbers probably inflated due to inferior competition? Yes. Can you put up those numbers just by playing inferior competition, though? No. You have to be good. Those are the kinds of numbers I suspect this Indiana team would put up in a bad conference.
The Hoosier offense will also find itself in a battle. Radford will start LHP Michael Boyle. The 6-1, 170 lb. junior is 10-2 in 15 starts this season, and has a 2.27 ERA in 99.1 IP. Those numbers work out to approximately 6.6 innings per start, and less than two runs per start. At the back end, the Highlanders have two relief pitchers who have been darn near perfect.
Kyle Palmer (2-0, 2.00 ERA) has made 21 appearances and his only weakness appears to be the runners he lets on base. In 27.0 IP, he's allowed 30 runners to reach base. The closer, Ryan Meisinger, has made 29 appearances and, with his 1.75 ERA, has a 5-0 record and 15 saves. That means he's factored into the decision in 69% of the games in which he's appeared. He's allowed just 31 runners in 36.0 IP.
So, for as much as we can joke about a Radford is, the Hoosiers will find themselves in a dogfight on Friday in Nashville. And they'll have to beat a very good team in order to find their way into the winner's bracket.
Friday's game begins at 3:00 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.