• Junior Andrew Gottfried pitched a career-high 8.1 innings, limiting Longwood to two runs on six hits in the first quality start for an HPU pitcher this season.
• Eight different Panther batters recorded a hit as High Point evened its Big South opening series.
• Senior Jordan Sergent collected his third mulit-hit game of the season, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI.
FARMVILLE, Va. – The High Point University baseball team rode a career day on the mound from junior Andrew Gottfried and a three-inning offensive burst to knock off Longwood, 8-2, on Saturday afternoon at Buddy Bolding Stadium.
The Panthers (9-9, 1-1) evened the opening series of conference play with the triumph, setting up a rubber game with the Lancers (6-11, 1-1) on Sunday.
“We played a really solid baseball game today,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “It was nice to get (Austen) Zente back in at the top of the lineup. Jordan Sergent had a really nice day offensively and JJ Woodard was a source of production off the bench. We played flawless defense and Andrew Gottfried gave us the best start we’ve had out of any starting pitcher this year.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the series and if we come out and play like that again tomorrow then I feel good about our chances.”
Gottfried (2-2) was dominant in the longest outing of his career, ceding only a pair of runs in the last of the fourth inning. The righthander set down 10 of the first 11 he faced before giving up the two tallies.
After the three-hits-in-four-batters stretch, Gottfried settled back in to retire 12 of the next 14 hitters. The junior punctuated his outing with a five-pitch seventh inning and induced a double play to erase a leadoff hit in the eighth.
Gottfried needed a season-high 112 pitches to complete a career-high 8.1 innings, striking out five against only two walks while scattering six hits. The outing eclipsed his previous career best of 7.2 frames, which he had done twice.
“I made a few mechanical adjustments during the week and I think that helped a lot,” Gottfried said. “It obviously helps when your team scores eight runs and constantly has runners on base. (Daniel) Millwee did a great job battling for me every pitch (behind the plate). You can never appreciate a catcher enough.
“More than anything, it was throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys, especially later in the game. Keeping guys off balance while throwing multiple pitches for strikes was a big key.”
Offensively, High Point broke through with three tallies in the fourth. Back-to-back singles opened the frame, putting runners at the corners for senior Blake Schunk, who laid down a safety squeeze. Longwood starter Cody Boydstun (1-3) bobbled the bunt attempt, allowing senior Carson Jackson to score on the error.
Senior Jordan Sergent followed with an RBI ground-rule double and junior JJ Woodard delivered with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to grow HPU’s advantage to 3-0.
Longwood countered with a pair of runs in the last of the fourth, but would get no closer. The Panthers added a run in the fifth on an RBI groundout from redshirt-junior Daniel Millwee and put the game away in the sixth with three more runs.
Sergent ignited the rally with his second double of the day and promptly scored on an RBI single from Woodard. Three batters later, sophomore Joe Johnson pulled an RBI single to right field for a 6-2 lead and senior Austen Zente scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-2.
Sergent, who added a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth, had a strong day at the dish, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored, and two RBI. He was one of eight Panthers to record a hit in the contest, including Jackson and Schunk, who contributed two hits each. Senior Hunter Lee extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 1-for-4 performance.
The Panthers and Lancers wrap up the series with the rubber game of the set on Sunday at 2 p.m.