HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team fell late to UNC Asheville, giving up three runs in the top of the eighth inning to fall to the Bulldogs by a score of 5-4 on Friday night at Williard Stadium. Freshman Ryne Rush had a career day, going 4-4 at the plate.
The four-hit game was the first of Rush’s career. The freshman finished with two doubles and two singles and had two RBI and a run scored.
Jaime Schultz took the loss, going two innings and allowing one run, unearned on two hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Ryan Retz started and went 6-2/3 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits with two strikeouts and one walk. The effort dropped Retz’s ERA to 2.90 for the season and 1.87 in Big South play.
Dean Roland started the game for the Bulldogs and went 6-2/3 innings and allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits with five strikeouts and four walks. Dillon Taber relieved Roland and picked up the win, with a scoreless 2-1/3 innings out of the pen. Taber allowed two hits and a walk and had two strikeouts.
High Point drops to 23-22 overall and 8-8 in Big South play while UNC Asheville improves to 20-23 overall and 9-10 in conference play.
Asheville took its first and only lead of the game in the top of the eighth scoring three runs on a wild pitch, a bases-loaded walk and a passed ball to go up, 5-4. Freshman Joe Goodman started the inning, issuing a single and hitting a batter before being relieved by Schultz. Both the inherited runners came around to score as well as one batter credited to Schultz.
“It is a pretty simple game,” said head coach Craig Cozart. “When you get out to an early lead you have to keep going and create separation. We only put up one run in the final eight innings and gave UNC Asheville an opportunity to get back in the game. Unfortunately freebies out of the bullpen beat us tonight. We have to learn from this and find a way to win the series.”
HPU jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Sean Wilson and Willie Medina led off the game with back-to-back singles and came around to score on a double to the right-center gap by Rush. After a single by Retz advanced Rush to third, the freshman came in to score on a sacrifice fly to deep left by Devin Bujnovsky.
Asheville picked up a run in the top of the second inning as Patrick Koontz reached base on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a passed ball before coming around to score on a groundball single to center by Todd Joyner. Koontz just beat the throw from Wilson sliding around the tag by freshman catcher Josh Spano.
Joyner struck again in the top of the fifth taking a Retz offering over the right field fence to bring the score to 3-2. The home run was Joyner’s second of the season.
High Point picked up another run in the bottom of the seventh as Retz drove in Medina with a single to centerfield. Medina reached on an error and moved to second on a single by Rush before coming around to score on the Retz single.
High Point will continue its series against UNC Asheville on Saturday, May 5 at 6 p.m., in Willard Stadium. Junior Matt Armstead will start for the Panthers.