HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team rode a strong pitching performance by Jarod Avidon and some timely hitting to a 7-1 win over UNC Asheville in a Big South Tournament elimination game on Wednesday at Willard Stadium. The Panthers will play the loser of the game between Liberty and Campbell on Thursday.
“It all started with pitching and Jared Avidon was sensational for the second-straight start,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “I am very proud at the way he has performed at the end of the season. The guys in the middle of the order drove in runs, Devin Bujnovsky and Josh Spano had great at bats. It feels good to be playing tomorrow.”
Avidon picked up his second-straight win for HPU, going six innings and allowing just one run on six hits and five walks with five strikeouts. Avidon pushed his scoreless innings streak to 13-2/3 innings before allowing a run in the bottom of the fifth. Will Resnik and John Maloney combined to pitch a scoreless final three innings allowing just three hits while striking out four.
Ryan Dunn took the loss for UNC Asheville, going just three innings and allowing five earned runs on nine hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
Juniors Ryan Retz and Devin Bujnovsky and freshman Josh Spano all went 2-4 from the plate with two RBI. Spano and fellow freshman Dane McDermott each scored two runs to lead the team.
The win improves High Point’s record to 27-30 overall while UNC Asheville finishes its season with a 25-30 record. With the win High Point becomes the first No. 7 seed to win a game in the Big South Baseball Championship since 2000. The win is also the Panthers’ first over UNC Asheville in the tournament in four tries.
High Point jumped on the board in the top of the second inning as Spano was driven in on an RBI single by Retz. Spano earned a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a single by Bujnovsky before coming around to score on Retz hit into left field.
The Panthers broke the game open in the top of the third inning, scoring four runs to take a 5-0 lead. McDermott led off with a bunt single. After a fly out by Ryne Rush, HPU got back-to-back singles from Spencer Angelis and Spano with the second scoring McDermott. Bujnovsky got the big hit of the inning with a bases-clearing triple to right center and then scored the final run of the frame on an RBI single back up the middle by Retz.
The Bulldogs got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Jordan Lurie scored on a wild pitch by Avidon but High Point responded right back in the top of the sixth with an RBU single by Rush. Mike Miedzianowski got on base on a throwing error by the shortstop and advanced to third on a Willie Medina double ahead of Rush’s first hit of the tournament.
McDermott manufactured one last run for HPU in the top of the ninth inning drawing a leadoff walk and stealing both second and third before coming home to score on Spano’s second RBI single of the day.
High Point advances on to the third day of the Big South Tournament and will play the loser of the game between Campbell and Liberty who each won their opening round game. First pitch for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.