HPU Baseball Panthers Power Past A&T

Posted by Press Release on February 28, 2019 at 2:04 am under College | Comments are off for this article

GREENSBORO, N.C. – High Point University extrapolated on the power-hitting performance they had against NC Central the other night, crushing three home runs in an 8-1 victory at North Carolina A&T this Wednesday. The Panther bats were backed by an exceptional performance from starter Muhammed Eid, who surrendered a single earned run and three hits over his six innings on the bump.

“Mo [Muhammed Eid] did a heck of a job,” said Head Coach Craig Cozart. “He pitches with such great emotion and belief in what he’s doing, and that’s what you have to have in a midweek game. This is never an easy place to play, but if you control the situation on the mound you usually come out with good results, and he definitely led the charge from that standpoint.”

HPU took an immediate lead in the opening frame on a three-run jack from designated hitter Joe Johnson. Following Conner Dunbar’s leadoff single and a walk from JJ Woodard, Johnson delivered his first homer of the season to drive in his teammates and give the visiting Panthers an early 3-0 advantage. With Johnson’s long ball High Point scored the first runs of a contest for the fourth occasion this year, as the side is a perfect 4-0 in those situations for the 2019 campaign.

Ryan Russell added to the Panther lead in the following inning with some head’s up base running. The junior transfer crossed home on a wild pitch from the Aggie starter, giving right-hander Eid a four-run cushion going into the third.

Eid faced just one over the minimum in the beginning three frames, surrendering his first, and only run of the night during the bottom of the fourth. The Florida-native allowed just five baserunners over his 6.0 IP of work, striking out four Aggie batters in the process. Eid held an A&T offense that had already recorded 10 extra-base hits coming into the contest to just a trio of singles, as he earned his first win of the young season.

Not to be outdone by Johnson’s tater, starting catcher Daniel Millwee sent his own shot to right field to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead in the fourth. The senior collected his first jack of the season the night prior, in HPU’s 6-4 victory over NC Central, and now has a team-leading .609 slugging percentage on the year.

Just two at bats later, JJ Woodard would get his first homer of the year to make it 8-0 on his own lifted ball to right. Woodard rounded out his team’s four-run frame to create an eight-run advantage, giving the Panthers four home runs over their past two contests.

“I think we’re starting to get into a little of an offensive rhythm,” said Cozart. “The guys got rewarded for a good approach at the plate. Two of the three home runs were backside, so it’s nice to see. That’s what we hoped to accomplish in this five-game week after a weekend off, to get back into that rhythm that baseball demands.”

The Aggies lone run in the bottom half of the fourth would not be enough to spark a comeback as both sides went scoreless in the proceeding five terms. Jacob Winger and Johnson combined for three innings of shutout baseball, while the latter tossed a perfect eighth and ninth to close out Wednesday’s game at 8-1.

>> Wednesday’s victory over the Aggies was the 299th of Coach Cozart’s career. He’ll go for number 300 this Friday against William & Mary
>> Leading HPU with eight RBI on the year, Joe Johnson is currently hitting .833 with runners in scoring position
>> Recording two doubles and four home runs in the past two contests, the Panthers’ slugging percentage has catapulted from .271 to now .333 since after last week’s game against UNCG
>> With a single in the fourth, third baseman Travis Holt has now hit in all six of the Panthers’ games in 2019. He’s earned a knock in each of his last seven appearances in an HPU uniform
>> Eid, Winger and Johnson combined for nine strikeouts on the night, one away from completing back-to-back double-digit performances for the Panther pitching staff

The Panthers come back home after their trip to Greensboro, hoping to tally their first home weekend series of the year, after their originally scheduled contests against Saint Joseph’s were rained out earlier this year. HPU will host CAA foe William & Mary starting with a 4 PM first pitch inside Williard on Friday.

“We didn’t burn anybody for the weekend, even with two midweek games, with the exception of Mo [Eid],” said Cozart. “We’re really in a good situation from a pitching standpoint. We’re starting to swing the bats better and defensively we’re playing fine. William & Mary is going to be a challenge, they’re playing very well right now with a big win last night at the University of Virginia. So we’re going to have to continue to get better and be ready to scrap for 27 innings this weekend.”

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