HPU Baseball Completes Sweep With 8-3 Win Over Radford

RADFORD, Va. – Five runs in the top of the ninth inning broke a 3-3 tie and propelled the High Point University baseball team to an 8-3 win over Radford on Sunday afternoon in Radford, Va. The win completes a sweep of the Highlanders for HPU.

“The players went out and made plays when they had to today,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Malcolm Clapsaddle settled in and got us deep into the game so we could utilize our bullpen. Jared Avidon got us three huge outs and Joe Goodman finished it. Offensively, we got that big inning again. Josh Spano‘s home run really sealed the deal for us.”

The Panthers opened the ninth with three-straight singles from sophomores Stephen Wytiaz, Cody Manzella and Dane McDermott, loading the bases with no outs. Redford called in closer Michael Costello to get out of the jam, but senior Willie Medina hit the first pitch he saw into left to score two runs.

Two batters later sophomore Josh Spano cleared the bases with his second home run of the season. Spano got a hold of an 0-1 pitch and easily cleared the left field wall for a three-run shot, making the score 8-3.

After Radford got back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the ninth, sophomore Joe Goodman came in and got the final three outs to secure the five-run win.

Senior Jared Avidon picked up the win for High Point with a scoreless eighth inning out of the bullpen. Avidon allowed just two hits in one-plus inning of work to improve to 4-3 on the season.

Jeff Maxwell took the loss for the Highlanders after allowing three runs on four hits in 1-1/3 innings of work.

Medina finished the game 2-4 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored. McDermott and senior Ryan Retz each finished with three hits in the contest while senior Devin Bujnovsky went 2-5 with two RBI.

High Point moves to 18-19 overall and 6-6 in the Big South with the win over the Highlanders. Radford falls to 10-14 overall and 7-5 in conference play.

HPU was the first team on the board for the third-straight game, scoring a run in the top of the first inning to go ahead 1-0. Medina hit a double down the left field line on the second pitch of the game and came around to score on an RBI single by Bujnovsky.

Radford responded with a run in each of the first three innings to jump ahead 3-1. Highlander shortstop Jeff Kemp drive in third RU run of the game with a solo home run to right, his conference-best 10th of the season.

The Panthers got a run back in the top of the fourth inning with three-straight singles, making the score 3-2. Sophomore Spencer Angelis led off the inning with a single through the right side and was followed by Retz who hit a bunt single to third. Graduate student Adam Barry then hit an RBI single back up the middle to plate Angelis.

High Point tied the game at 3-3 in the following inning with an RBI single by Bujnovsky to score McDermott. The HPU second baseman singled to lead off the inning and stole second, giving the Panthers a runner in scoring position with no outs. After a Medina sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third, Bujnovsky drove him in with a line drive single to right-center.

The Panthers were forced to work out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh as Radford got a single by Chris Coia and a double by Blake Sipe to put runners at second and third with one out. Clapsaddle induced a pop-up to short and fly ball to right to end the Highlander threat.

After allowing a run in each of the first three innings, Clapsaddle did not allow a run in each of his final four innings of work. Clapsaddle pitched seven innings and allowed three runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out four.

The sweep by High Point was the Panthers’ second of the season and the first over a Big South opponent. HPU’s last sweep over a Big South opponent came against VMI last season.

“This was a huge weekend for us,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “I am extremely proud of our guys and of our coaching staff. There were a lot of good things that happened this weekend. We need to just carry the momentum from this weekend forward with us.”

High Point will return to Williard Stadium this week for midweek contests against Appalachian State and North Carolina Central. The Panthers will play Appalachian State on Tuesday, April 16, and NC Central on Wednesday, April 17.