CHARLESTON, S.C. – The High Point University baseball team opened its season with a 5-1 loss to Kansas State in the first game of The Citadel Memorial Challenge on Friday in Charleston, S.C. Senior Willie Medina went 4-5 from the plate and scored the lone run for HPU on the day.
“I was pleased with the way we played the game from a defensive perspective and the way Newberry pitched,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “On the flip side, it was disappointing that offensively we couldn’t put another run on the board after the first inning. We weren’t able to capitalize on offensive situations and getting hits with runners in scoring position is the difference between winning and losing. We need to come out with a more aggressive attitude offensively tomorrow.”
The Panthers scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore Spencer Angelis hit an RBI single up the middle to drive in Medina. Medina led off the inning with a slow grounder that worked its way up the left field line and hit the third base bag for an infield single. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and groundout before scoring the first run of the season on Angelis’ single.
The Wildcats threatened in the top of the sixth inning, loading the bases with two outs, but could not push a run across on HPU. Senior Jacob Newberry got two quick outs to start the inning before back-to-back singles and a hit batter loaded the bases for KSU. Redshirt-junior Malcolm Clapsaddle came in out of the bullpen and got out of the jam with a first-pitch groundout to first base.
After threatening the inning before, Kansas State took the lead with two runs in the top of the seventh inning. Tanner Witt led off the inning with a single through the left side of the infield and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Defending Big 12 batting champion Jared King tied the game with a triple to right-center then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Ross Kivett.
KSU added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth on a home run over the right field wall by Austin Fisher and a two-RBI single by Jon Davis.
Newberry went 5-2/3 innings in his first start of the season and allowed no runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out five batters. Clapsaddle took the loss after going 2-1/3 innings and allowing four earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts.
Nate Williams went six innings and allowed one run on five hits and a walk to pick up the win for Kansas State in its season opener.
HPU will return to Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park on Saturday, Feb. 16, to face George Mason in its second game at The Citadel Memorial Challenge. First pitch in the game is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.