LYNCHBURG, VA – The High Point University baseball team rallied from an eight-run deficit to beat Liberty 13-11 on Sunday in the final game played at Worthington Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. Junior Jacob Newberry got the win, pitching 8-1/3 innings of relief for the Panthers. Junior Willie Medina recorded the game-winning hit in the ninth inning. It was the 100th career win for Craig Cozart in his four seasons as a head coach at High Point.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort of this team today,” said Cozart. “We have gone through one of the most difficult stretches I have ever experienced as a coach but this team continued to dig and fight and find a way to get things done. This was a complete team effort. Now we have to use the energy and the emotion of this win to carry us through the final week of the season.”
Medina drove in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning to give HPU their first lead of the day at 12-11. Medina singled up the middle off Liberty reliever Jacob Kemmerer to plate Mike Miedzianowski. The Flames brought in Shawn Clowers to face Dane McDermott. Clowers threw a wild pitch that allowed Sean Wilson to score from third.
Newberry pitched 8-1/3 innings of relief for his fourth win of the season. He allowed three runs on five hits with four strikeouts in the longest outing of his career. He shutout the Flames for the final six innings of the game and allowed his team to rally from an early deficit.
High Point tied the game with four runs in the sixth inning. Ryne Rush, Scott Glover and Ryan Retz had three straight RBI singles to make it an 11-10 Liberty lead. Glover came in to score the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly by Devin Bujnovsky.
The Panthers scored seven runs in the second inning, capped off by a bases-loaded double by Glover. Josh Spano started a two-out rally with a walk and Mike Miedzianowski followed with a single. Sean Wilson walked to load the bases and HPU pushed home the first run when Medina was hit by a pitch. McDermott walked to score the Panthers’ second run.
Liberty went to the bullpen and Matt Marsh came out to face Rush. Rush singled in a run, cutting Liberty’s lead to 8-3 and bringing Glover to the plate with the bases loaded. Glover took the first pitch from Marsh down the right field line to score three runs. Glover would come around to score the seventh run of the inning, cutting Liberty’s lead to 8-7.
The Flames jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first inning. Alex Close had the big hit in the inning with a two-run homer to straight-away center field. HPU starter Jaime Schultz got two outs in the inning before he was relieved by Newberry. Newberry induced a pop up off the bat of Bryan Aanderud to end the inning.
Andy Smith hit a three-run homer off Newberry in the third inning to give the Flames an 11-7 lead.
Glover finished the game with two hits and a career-high four RBI. Medina went 2-4 with two runs scored and two RBI and Spano was 2-2 with three walks and a run scored.
High Point improved to 24-27 (9-12 Big South). The Flames stand at 36-15 (12-9 Big South) after losing in the final game played at Worthington Stadium. Liberty will open a new park for the 2013 season.
High Point will travel to East Carolina on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game in Greenville, N.C. HPU beat the Pirates 10-2 at Williard Stadium on March 21. Junior Jared Avidon pitched seven solid innings to earn his first win of the season and Medina, Retz, Rush and Miedzianowski all had multiple hits in the game.