Joe Raccuia, Radford Highlanders

Episode Artwork (28)

Joe Raccuia is in his 10th season as head coach of the Radford Highlanders. A 1995 Radford graduate, Raccuia returned to his roots on July 10, 2007 when he was named the fifth head coach in Highlanders’ baseball history. Throughout his 14 seasons in a Highlander uniform, Raccuia has been part of 369 total wins as a player (1994-95), assistant coach (1996) and head coach (2008-present), better than 50 percent of the program’s all-time victories dating back to 1985.

For the second time in the last three years, Radford reclaimed its place at the baseball mountain top of the Big South as the Highlanders closed out the 2017 conference tournament with four straight wins and a dominating 9-2 championship win over Presbyterian, punching their ticket to next week’s NCAA Regional round. The Highlanders ran the tables, outscoring opponents 29-8 in the tournament and finishing with an 40-22 advantage in the hit column. Radford’s pitching staff combined to strikeout 40 batters in 36 innings.

Radford starter Kyle Zurak was named the tournament’s most valuable player after tossing his first complete game in only his third collegiate start as the senior yielded only six hits and one walk over the contest. Zurak matched a career-best nine strikeouts, set against the same Presbyterian team on April 2. The righthander punched out 14 batters in 12.2 innings, giving up only seven hits and two earned runs.

Raccuia’s most successful season in a Radford uniform came during a historic 2015 season as the Highlanders finished with a 45-16 record, setting the school record in wins. The season also produced the program’s first Big South regular-season and conference championships, while earning a trip the NCAA Nashville Regional. In the regional, RU went 2-2, including wins over No. 3 Indiana and No. 4 Lipscomb. RU finished Big South play with a 20-4 record, earning Raccuia the Big South Coach of the Year award. Raccuia becomes only the third RU head coach to earn the honor.

 

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).