HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University pitcher Matt Armstead tossed his second complete-game shutout of the season to lead the Panthers to a 2-0 win over VMI on Saturday night. Armstead retired the final 16 batters of the game to secure the Big South win.
“This was a classic game,” said head coach Craig Cozart. “We scrapped for a couple runs early in the game. Willie Medina and Dane McDermott had big RBI hits for us and the rest of the story was Matt Armstead. The best thing about his performance is that he called his own game from the third inning on. Ryan Retz and Armstead throwing complete games on back-to-back nights is a testament to how hard this pitching staff works. We have to come out tomorrow prepared and focused to get the sweep.”
Armstead went nine innings for the second time this season. He also threw a complete-game shutout against Manhattan on March 10. He allowed five hits in the game while striking out four Keydets. He didn’t walk a batter in the game. After the fourth inning Armstead didn’t allow a hit, retiring the final 16 batters of the game in order. He improves to 3-2 this season and drops his ERA to 3.74.
“Everything was working tonight,” Armstead said. “I felt great on the mound, especially when I was in the windup and I was able to execute my pitches all night. This was a very important win for us to take the series from VMI and I am so happy that my entire family was here to see it.”
It is the second straight night that a Panther pitcher has thrown a complete game without walking a batter. Retz went the distance on Friday against the Keydets with issuing a free pass.
HPU got the scoring started in the bottom half of the first when junior Sean Wilson laced a leadoff double down the left field line. He promptly stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to left centerfield off the bat of Willie Medina.
Freshman Mike Miedzianowski knocked a two-out double to left centerfield in the second inning and was later plated by freshman Dane McDermott who singled to center field, extending his hitting streak to a career-long eight games.
VMI’s best chance to score came in the second inning when Jacob Morley doubled to left field and Gary Leclair singled and stole second to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Armstead induced a popout in foul territory and two groundouts to get out of the inning unscathed.
VMI threatened again in the third inning after George Piccirilli singled and stole second with two outs. Cameron Walter stepped up and knocked a single up the middle but HPU’s McDermott came up throwing and fired a strike to home plate where freshman Spencer Angelis applied the tag to keep the Keydets off the board once again.
McDermott made another spectacular play in the top of the ninth inning, making a diving catch in right centerfield on a ball off the bat of Piccirilli. McDermott made the diving grab to keep Armstead’s streak of retired batters alive and keep the game-tying run from coming to the plate.
Keydets starter Cameron Henkel went 5-2/3 innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four. His record falls to 1-3 on the season.
The Panthers (18-11, 4-1 Big South) will go for the sweep of VMI (9-17, 3-5 Big South) on Sunday at 1 p.m.