CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team fell to No. 6 North Carolina, 10-5, on Tuesday night at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Panthers scored three runs in the ninth but couldn’t complete the comeback against the Tarheels.
“The biggest struggle for this team is its mentality,” said head coach Craig Cozart. “And it is a shame to say that 39 games in to the season. If we recover our ability to compete as a team, we will be just fine but it has to happen soon. We have another big game tomorrow and another chance to compete.”
Cody Manzella made his first collegiate plate appearance to lead off the ninth inning and walked on four straight balls. He came around to score on a double by Willie Medina. Sal Pezzino and Ryne Rush had back-to-back RBI singles to make it a 10-5 game.
Carolina broke the game open with three runs in the fourth inning. HPU starter Jared Avidon walked two batters before Joe Goodman came in from the bullpen. The first batter Goodman faced, Jacob Stallings, reached on a throwing error by Rush, allowing a run to score. Cody Stubbs followed it with a bouncing single up the middle to drive home a run. The Tarheels final run of the inning came in to score on a bunt by Michael Russel and UNC led 6-1 after four innings.
Avidon went 3-1/3 innings in his eighth start of the season. He allowed five runs on six hits while walking four and striking out two batters. He is 1-3 for the year.
The Panthers scored their first run in the second inning. Rush led off the frame with a double down the leftfield line. He came around to score on Ryan Retz’s single up the middle.
Shane Taylor pitched five innings for the Tarheels, allowing one run on five hits for his fourth win of the season. He had one strikeout and one walk in the game.
HPU had a chance to get back in the game in the sixth inning. UNC relief pitcher Cody Penny walked Rush and Retz with one out. The Tarheels brought in a lefty, Tate Parrish, to face Devin Bujnovsky. Bujnovsky worked a walk to load the bases for Josh Spano. Chris McCue came out of the UNC bullpen and got Spano to pop up on the first pitch. Mike Miedzianowski looked at strike three on the outside corner to end the inning without the Panthers scoring a run.
North Carolina added four runs in the seventh inning to make it a 10-1 game. Chaz Frank tripled off Will Resnik with the bases loaded. Two of the runners belonged to Joe Goodman. Goodman pitched three innings of relief, allowing three earned runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Bujnovsky hit his second homerun of the season in the eighth inning to make it a 10-2 Tarheel lead. Bujnovsky took the 1-2 pitch from Luis Paula over the rightfield wall.
Pezzino singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. The streak tops his previous career best of 15 games from March 24-April 23, 2012.
Rush and Medina both went 2-4 with a run scored and one RBI in the game. Pezzino also collected two hits on the night.
The Panther continue a string of six straight games on Wednesday at Elon. First pitch at Latham Park is set for 6:30 p.m.