High Point Baseball comeback falls short against Richmond

The High Point University baseball team fell to Richmond, 7-6, on Tuesday at Williard Stadium. The Panthers scored at least one run in five straight innings and kept the Spiders scoreless for the last four innings of the game but couldn’t complete the comeback.

“For the most part, tonight was actually a really good ball game,” said head coach Craig Cozart. “I hate that we came out on the losing end of it. If we don’t put guys on base with freebies their two homeruns don’t hurt us as bad and we could come away with a win.”

High Point loaded the bases in the seventh inning with one out and Zach Hubbard coming to the plate. Richmond reliever Andrew Brockett entered the game to face the HPU second baseman. Brockett’s first pitch was wild, allowing Devin Bujnovsky to score from third base and cut Richmond’s lead to 7-6. Hubbard chopped a ball to the third baseman and Josh Spano broke for home getting caught in a run down. He was tagged out in the baseline by Brockett. Dane McDermott grounded out to first base for the final out of the inning.

High Point left 10 men on base in the game, including leaving them loaded in the sixth inning.

With the loss High Point stands at 8-6 while Richmond extends its winning streak to seven games and improves its record to 7-3.

Richmond outfielder Phil Ruzbarsky hit two homeruns in the game, accounting for five of the Spiders’ seven runs. He hit both off HPU starter Ryan Retz, who took his second loss of the season. Retz went five innings, allowing seven runs, five earned, on five hits with three walks and a career-high five strikeouts. The loss brings Retz’s record to 1-2 this season.

Retz walked designated hitter Chris Cowell to lead off the second inning and Ruzbarsky hit his first homerun of the game to put the Spiders up 2-0. Richmond tacked on a pair of unearned runs in the inning after a fielding error by Willie Medina to go up 4-0.

After the Panthers battled back to make it a 4-3 game, Ruzbarsky came up in the fifth with two runners on and hit his second homer of the game to right field to put the Spiders on top 7-3.

Richmond starter Andrew Blum went five innings for his second win of the season. He gave up four runs, three earned, on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Brockett pitched the final 2-2/3 innings of the game for his second save of the season. He gave up one hit and struck out two batters.

Medina singled and scored in the fifth and Spano doubled and scored in the sixth to get HPU back within two runs, trailing 7-5 heading in to the seventh inning.

Spano went 3-5 in the game with two runs scored and Hubbard finished the night 2-3 with two RBI. Adam Pratson, Jordan Foster, Will Resnik and Joe Goodman kept Richmond from scoring for the final four innings of the game.

High Point will face Richmond again on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. at Williard Stadium.