• Senior Blake Schunk tied a career high with four hits, going 4-for-5 with a double, triple, and two runs scored.
• Freshman Jacob Kates tossed four innings out of the bullpen in the most extensive outing of his career, striking out six.
• Freshman Tanner Wells and senior Hunter Lee each contributed multiple hits as HPU tallied 13 knocks on the afternoon.
CONWAY, S.C. – The High Point University baseball team nearly dug out of a six-run deficit before ultimately succumbing to Ohio State, 8-6, on Friday afternoon in the opening game of the Environmental Staffing Chanticleer Classic in Conway, S.C.
“We put them in position to score a lot in the first half of the game and they took advantage of it,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We figured out a way to put up a big inning in the sixth, but we had opportunities to tie and go ahead in the last third of the game and we didn’t do it. Sooner or later, we’ll figure this thing out.”
Ohio State (8-4) jumped out to a quick start with three runs in the top of the first, all coming with two outs. The Buckeyes added an unearned tally in the third inning and utilized home runs in the fourth and fifth frames to grow the advantage to 7-1.
High Point (5-7) put runners on the corners with nobody out in the last of the second and ultimately scratched a run across on a sacrifice bunt from junior JJ Woodard that plated senior Blake Schunk.
The Panthers were able to get back in the game in the last of the sixth, scoring five times. A one-out error spurred the rally as the miscue loaded the bases for freshman Tanner Wells, who slapped an RBI single to right to make it 7-2. Senior Jordan Sergent pinch hit and roped the first pitch he saw to the left-center field gap for a three-run triple. Sergent promptly scored on a bunt single from Conner Dunbar to draw the Panthers to within one at 7-6.
HPU put the tying run on third in the seventh inning via a one-out triple from Schunk, his second extra-base hit of the game. However, a strikeout and a fly out ended the threat. Schunk ended up tying his career-best with four hits in the game, finishing a homer shy of the cycle. His third multi-hit game of the year was the Panthers’ second four-hit game of the season.
High Point was able to get back in the game thanks to some solid relief work from freshman Jacob Kates, who relieved sophomore starter Drew Daczkowski in the fourth. Kates ended up spinning a double play and lasted four innings on the bump, allowing just one run. He retired nine straight from the fifth to the eighth and struck out a career-best six in his fourth career appearance.
Ohio State added a solo homer in the top of the ninth to double its lead to 8-6. HPU mounted a rally in the last of the ninth, putting runners at second and third with two outs, but a strikeout ended the game with the tying runs in scoring position.
Daczkowski (1-2) took the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits in 3.1 innings. Despite the short outing, the righthander tied his season high with seven strikeouts. Ohio State starter Connor Curlis (3-0) earned the win while Seth Kinker picked up his fourth save of the season.
Senior Hunter Lee added a pair of hits, as did Wells, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Panthers return to action this afternoon to take on the host, #21 Coastal Carolina at 4 p.m.