HIGH POINT, N.C. – In a high-scoring conference opener, High Point University baseball walks away with a loss this Saturday, after falling to visiting Campbell by a final of 13-8. The Panther offense secured double-digit hits for the fourth time this year, but were unable to surmount a hot Camels offense that hit .314 on the night.
“We have two more games left, some guys are going to have to step up and get some stuff done on the mound to give us an opportunity to win the series, but it starts with tomorrow,” said Head Coach Craig Cozart. “I was not displeased with the way that we tried to compete in spite of the fact that we just couldn’t get outs on the mound. There’s still a lot of series in front of us.”
After giving up a four-spot in the opening frame, the Purple & White roared back with four runs of their own in the bottom half to put things back even. Evan Bergman got things started, driving an ambush double to left center, before advancing to third on a Conner Dunbar single. The Panthers opened their offensive night with four straight hits, as Joe Johnson and Daniel Millwee each collected RBI singles in the two ensuing at bats. The former would come home on a sac fly from Ryan Russell, before Travis Holt’s RBI groundout brought Millwee in for the tying marker.
The next four innings would belong to the Camels however, as the visiting side tallied nine runs unanswered, boosted by a six-run rally in the top half of the 5th.
Three HPU freshmen combined for four shutout innings to finish their team’s performance on the mound, with right-hander Brady Pearre coming on for the final out of the fifth. The first-year Panther worked around five base runners over his 2.1 innings of work, on the way to striking out a career-high two batters. KJ Wells took the hill for the eighth in lieu of Pearre, as he and Bryan Woelfel tossed back-to-back perfect innings to close the night.
The Panther offense came alive once again during the bottom of the eighth, tallying a pair of runs off a trio of knocks. Singles from Russell and Holt put the Purple & White into scoring position, before third baseman Trent Harris juiced the bases on a five-pitch walk. Freshman catcher Brian Rall took advantage of the RBI opportunity after sending a single to shallow center field, while Bergman’s sac fly brought the score to 13-6.
“Evan Bergman buys into what our guys are told to do at the plate, and he gets great results because of it,” said Cozart. “You have to give him credit because he goes to the plate and knows what he has to do, competes within that, and gets great results.”
High Point put together a two-out rally in the ninth, with Russell finding his second knock of the afternoon on a single to center field, putting senior Nick Niarchos into scoring position at second. A Zayicek walk and a Campbell error put another run on the board for the Panthers, before a wild pitch brought in Russell for the side’s second run of the frame. The home team’s night would end on the next at bat however, with Harris taking a full count strike on a borderline pitch, to keep the final at 13-8.
>> Bergman is currently on an eight-game hitting streak, with five of those performances reflecting multi-hit performances. He’s averaged .424 at the plate since February 19th, crossing home four times with four RBI during that span
>> Russell continues to stay hot after getting moved up in the lineup at James Madison. The junior is hitting .538 with a pair of walks in his past four appearances
>> Recently named Big South Freshman of the Week Trent Harris extended his own on-base streak to six straight games, drawing his eight walk of the season, to tie with Zayicek and Johnson for a team-high
>> Pearre and Woelfel are still yet to surrender an earned run this year, combining for 4.1 innings of relief, while Wells has given up just a single base runner in his past three appearances (2.1 IP)
COMING UP NEXT
The Panthers will attempt to even the series at one apiece on Sunday with junior Harrison Smith expected to get the start on the hill. First pitch is currently scheduled for 1 PM, while this week’s finale takes place on Monday at 4 PM.