CHARLESTON, S.C. – The High Point University baseball team scored five runs in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie on the way to a 7-2 win over The Citadel Sunday afternoon in Charleston, S.C. Senior Jared Avidon got the win for HPU after going eight innings and allowing just two runs.
“This was a really good team win over a solid club in The Citadel,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “The fun thing about today’s game was seeing the depth of our roster. It all starts on the mound where Jared Avidon went out and controlled the situation from pitch one. I am proud of the way our guys came back and competed this weekend after a tough first game.”
With the win, High Point improves to 2-1 to start the season. It is the second season in a row that the Panthers have gone 2-1 in the first weekend of the season. The Citadel falls to 2-1 on the season with the loss.
HPU broke the game open in the top of the eighth inning, scoring five runs with two outs to take a 6-1 lead. High Point loaded the bases with one out on a single by senior Sean Wilson, a hit by pitch by senior Willie Medina and a walk by senior Devin Bujnovsky. After a pop-up by freshman Brett Gemmell, graduate student Adam Barry hit a hard grounder to short, but the throw by the Citadel shortstop was offline allowing two runs to score.
With runners at second and third, sophomore Josh Spano stepped to the plate and hit a line drive to left to score two more runs and put the Panthers ahead, 5-1. Two-straight walks by sophomore Cody Manzella and senior Ryan Retz reloaded the bases and a wild pitch allowed Spano to score HPU’s fifth and final run of the inning.
Following the Panthers’ eighth-inning surge, the Citadel pulled a run back in the bottom of the frame when Drew DeKerlegand scored on a throwing error by Medina to make the score 6-2. HPU came right back in the top of the ninth with a triple by Bujnovsky and a single by freshman Dominic Fazio to make the final score 7-2.
Senior Jared Avidon picked up where he left off last season, earning the win after pitching eight innings and allowing just two earned runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
The Citadel’s Logan Cribb took the loss for the Bulldogs after pitching 1-1/3 innings and allowing three runs on one hit and one walk. Freshman Austin Mason pitched well for The Citadel in his first start, going six innings, and allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks with one strikeout.
High Point took an early lead in the top of the second inning on an RBI groundout by Manzella. Barry hit an opposite field line drive to left for a double to start the inning and moved to third on a single by Spano. Manzella picked up the RBI with a dribbler in front of the mound to drive in Barry.
The Citadel tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Bailey Rush.
Spano led the Panthers at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored. Bujnovsky hit 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored while Barry finished 1-for-4 with two runs scored.
The Panthers next return to High Point, N.C., to open their home schedule with a game against Charlotte on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m. HPU went 2-0 in two meetings with the 49ers last season, winning both at home and in Charlotte.