HPU Baseball Falls to the Tribe in the Bottom of the Ninth, 5-4

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The High Point University baseball team scored twice in the ninth to tie the game against William & Mary but the Panthers dropped the contest by a score of 5-4 after allowing a two-out bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday afternoon in Williamsburg, Va.

“This was a hard-fought ballgame between two quality teams this afternoon,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the result at the end. There are little things you go back to that happened during the game which got us the result we did. The effort and intensity were there. If we come back tomorrow and a little better in all the phases of the game then we will win this series.”

HPU got two runners on with one out in the top of the ninth with a double by sophomore Cody Manzella and a hit-by-pitch from freshman Sly Edwards. A groundout by graduate student Adam Barry advanced the runners and brought up senior Scott Glover who was pinch hitting for junior Kyle Brandenburg. The senior came through for the second day in a row with a single to center, platting both runners and tying the game at 4-4. Glover is now 2-2 with four RBI in two pinch hit appearances in the series.

A single and an intentional walk put two William & Mary runners on with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Redshirt-junior Jaime Schultz struck out his second batter of the inning for the second out, but a wild pitch advanced both runners. The Panthers intentionally walked the bases loaded to pitch to Ryan Hissey who was 0-4. The Tribe batter fouled off six pitches before hitting a single to center to score the winning run.

High Point falls to 14-13 with the loss which evens the weekend series at a game apiece. William & Mary improves to 19-9 on the season with the win.

Senior Willie Medina put the Panthers ahead, 1-0, in the top of the first inning after singling to lead off the game and coming around to score the first run of the game. Medina hit a swinging bunt to third for an infield single then advanced to third on an error by the William & Mary pitcher on a pickoff attempt. The shortstop scored on a passed ball to put HPU up. The Medina run broke a streak of 18-2/3 scoreless innings by William & Mary starter John Farrell.

William & Mary tied the game in the bottom of the first with an unearned run on an error by Medina but High Point came right back in the top of the second with another run to go ahead 2-1. Senior Ryan Retz singled to start the inning and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball before scoring on a groundout to short by Edwards.

The Tribe scored twice in the bottom of the third inning to take its first lead of the series at 3-2. Michael Katz hit a one-out double to right to score the first run then came around to score on a double into the right-center gap by Charley Gould.

William & Mary added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI double by William Shaw to straight-away center field. Katz walked and moved to second on a groundout before scoring with two outs on the Shaw double.

Barry and sophomore Josh Spano both went 2-4 for the Panthers in the loss. Manzella went 1-3 with a run scored and Edwards picked up both an RBI and a run scored.

Schultz took the loss for High Point out of the bullpen. Schultz pitched 4-1.3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out five. Redshirt-junior Sean Townsley started for the Panthers and pitched 4-1/3 innings. Townsley allowed three runs, two earned on six hits and a walk while striking out two.

Farrell pitched his second-straight complete game to pick up the win for William & Mary. Farrell allowed a season high four runs, three earned, on 10 hits in his nine innings of work while striking out seven. The four runs and three earned runs allowed by Farrell were both season highs for the Tribe pitcher.

High Point and William & Mary will play the rubber game of their three-game weekend series on Sunday, March 31, at Plumeri Park. Senior Jared Avidon will get the start for HPU. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.