HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team dropped a thrilling 14-inning contest to Wake Forest by a score of 11-7 on Tuesday night at Williard Stadium. The game set a new mark as the longest game in HPU’s Div. I era.
“This was a great ballgame, I just wish we could have figured out a way to come out on top of it,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “I was proud of the way our guys scrapped back to tie the game after falling behind. Our energy and enthusiasm was where we wanted it to be and where it hasn’t been in a week. This was a difficult game to lose but there are a lot of things we can draw momentum from tonight.”
Wake Forest broke a 7-7 stalemate with four runs in the top of the 14th inning to pick up the win. The Demon Deacons loaded the bases with no outs and scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch by senior Kyle Wigmore. WFU’s Jack Carey, who was at bat during the wild pitch, then added three insurance runs with a three-run home run.
Junior Mike Krumm suffered the loss for High Point after allowing three runs on three hits and a walk in one-plus inning of work. All three of the runs that were credited to Krumm scored after the pitcher’s exit on the wild pitch and the Carey home run.
Nike Spezial pitched three scoreless innings for the Demon Deacons to earn the win. Spezial allowed just two hits and three walks in his three innings of work.
The previous HPU Div. I record for longest game was 13 innings which the Panthers have done twice. High Point played a 13-inning game against North Carolina A&T on April 5, 2000 then matched that with a 13-inning game against Charleston Southern on May 21, 2010.
High Point falls to 15-18 on the season with the loss. The Panthers are now 1-3 in extra-inning games this season. Wake Forest improves to 18-17 overall.
HPU took a 2-0 lead early in the game with runs in the first and third innings. Both times senior Ryan Retz came through with RBI hits to drive in senior Devin Bujnovsky.
Wake Forest tied the game with two runs in the top of the fourth, but HPU came right back with two in the bottom of the fifth to go back ahead, 4-2. Retz once again played a key role with a two-out infield single to start the rally. Graduate student Adam Barry followed with an infield single of his own and both came around to score on an RBI double down the right field line by sophomore Cody Manzella.
Wake Forest jumped ahead for the first time with five runs in the top of the sixth to go up 7-4. Mark Rhine had the big hit for the Demon Deacons with a two-run double that put WFU out in front.
Retz got the start for High Point and pitched five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. After the five-run sixth inning, HPU pitchers combined to throw seven scoreless innings out of the pen. Sophomore Joe Goodman went the longest, pitching three scoreless innings and allowing just one hit while striking out two.
High Point scored once in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by sophomore Josh Spano then tied the game with two runs in the next inning on a bases-loaded single by senior Willie Medina which scored both sophomore Dane McDermott and junior Kyle Brandenburg.
The Panthers had two chances to win the game in extra innings but were unable to push a run across in either instance. In the bottom of the 12th inning, HPU had runners at the corners with two outs for Medina who hit a line drive but right at the WFU center fielder. In the 13th inning, HPU loaded the bases with one out but pinch hitter Dominic Fazio grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Three different HPU players drove in two runs in the game led by Manzella who finished 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Retz went 3-6 with two RBI and run scored while Medina went 2-7 with two RBI. Bujnovsky went 2-6 on the day and scored a team-high three runs.
High Point and Wake Forest will meet for the second half of their home-and-home midweek series on Wednesday, April 10, at the Wake Forest Baseball Complex in Winston-Salem, N.C. First pitch in the game is set for 6 p.m.