LYNCHBURG, VA – The High Point University baseball team led Liberty early but couldn’t hold on to the lead, losing to the Flames, 6-3, on Saturday at Worthington Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. Freshman Ryne Rush went 2-5 with his second career home run. Ryan Retz and Scott Glover also had two hits each.
Rush blasted his second homer of the season in the third inning, knocking Liberty starter Brooks Roy out of the game. Rush’s solo shot went off the scoreboard in left-center field and extended HPU’s lead to 3-1. Roy went 2-1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with one walk.
The Panthers scored two runs in the second inning. Devin Bujnovsky picked up his 20th RBI of the season with a single through the right side to score to score Glover. Retz came in to plate the second run of the inning on a squeeze bunt by Spencer Angelis.
The Flames tied the game, 3-3, with a two-run homer off the bat of Andy Smith in the fifth inning. HPU started Jared Avidon had scattered two hits since an Ian Parmley double in the first inning until Smith’s homer. The home run scored Zack Haley who led off the inning with a walk.
Liberty scored the game-winning run in the sixth inning on a squeeze bunt by Dalton Sype. Alex Close broke for home on contact and came in to score before Rush could come in on the ball. Rush made the play to first to get Sype out.
Avidon was solid but took the tough-luck loss, dropping to 1-5 on the season. He allowed four runs on four hits in five innings of work. He walked two and struck out two in the game.
Jared Lyons got the win for Liberty, improving to 2-3 on the season. He pitched 3-2/3 innings of relief, allowing two hits without giving up a run. He had two strikeouts in the win. Jacob Kemmerer earned the save, his third of the season.
Bujnovsky went 1-2 with two walks and one RBI in the game. Retz finished the night 2-5 with a double and a run scored and Glover went 2-5 with a run scored. Cody Manzella pitched a scoreless eighth inning for High Point
The Panthers stand at 23-27 (8-12 Big South) and Liberty improved to 36-15 (12-8 Big South).
High Point and Liberty will finish the series on Sunday at 2 p.m. Redshirt-sophomore Jaime Schultz will make his first start of the season. He has appeared in 20 games out of the bullpen this year and leads the team with six saves. The last time he started a game was also against Liberty in the 2010 Big South Conference Tournament. Schultz pitched 4-1/3 innings in that game, allowing just three hits with three strikeouts before he came out of the game due to injury. He missed the entire 2011 season.