HPU Baseball Completes Sweep of UNC Asheville With a 7-6 Win on Monday

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – A wild pitch by UNC Asheville pitcher Billy Creighton allowed sophomore Josh Spano to score the go-ahead run in the ninth, completing a three-run rally by the High Point University baseball team as the Panthers beat Asheville, 7-6, on Monday afternoon in Asheville, N.C. The win completes a weekend sweep by HPU.

“This team is pretty special right now with the ways we are figuring out how to win,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “It’s a good thing I am bald because I sure would have gray hairs. It’s a lot more fun playing this way when you figure out a way to win. I am real proud of our guys. We got a couple huge hits at the end of the game and the wild pitch was fortunate for us. It was a complete team effort today.”

High Point entered the ninth inning trailing by two, 6-4. Sophomore Dane McDermott was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and senior Devin Bujnovsky walked to put the tying run on base with one out. Sophomore Josh Spano drove in the first run of the frame with a double to left-center, scoring McDermott, and Angelis followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center to plate the tying run. Spano moved to third on the Angelis fly ball and scored three pitches later on the Creighton wild pitch.

Townsley worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to pick up the win and complete the HPU sweep. Townsley pitched 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief out of the bullpen to earn his fourth win of the season. The left hander retired all seven batters he faced including three by strikeout.

Creighton took the loss for UNC Asheville after allowing two runs on one hit and two walks in 2/3 of an inning of work.

The road sweep by High Point was its second in as many weekends for the Panthers. It is the first time in HPU’s Div. I history that the team has picked up back-to-back weekend sweeps in Big South play and the first time that High Point has picked up back-to-back road sweeps. The only other time that the Panthers have swept back-to-back weekend series was in 2010 when they won three-straight home series against Farleigh Dickinson, Towson and Eastern Kentucky.

High Point improves to 22-20 overall and 9-6 in the Big South with the win. UNC Asheville drops to 13-29 overall and 2-13 in conference play.

High Point took an early lead in the top of the second inning as junior Blake Hutton came home on a grounder to third by McDermott. The Panthers loaded the bases with one out on a walk by Hutton, a fielder’s choice off the bat of graduate student Adam Barry and an infield single by sophomore Cody Manzella. McDermott came to the plate and hit a slow roller to third to drive in the run.

Ashville tied the game in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI single by Robert McIntosh and the game remained knotted at one until the top of the sixth when HPU scored two runs to go ahead 3-1. Senior Ryan Retzgot the rally going with a double down the right field line and came around to score on a double to the right-center gap by sophomore Stephen Wytiaz. Manzella drove in Wytiaz with a single to center to put the Panthers up by two runs.

The Panther lead lasted until the bottom of the seventh when a pair of High Point errors opened the door for Asheville to score five runs and go ahead 6-3. The Bulldogs tied the game with an RBI single by Tommy Houmard and an error by Manzella then took the lead on a two-out RBI single by Billy Creighton. Asheville would tack on two more runs before a strikeout by Townsley ended the inning.

High Point got a run back in the top of the eighth inning as sophomore Spencer Angelis worked a leadoff walk and came around to score on a wild pitch, making the score 6-4.

Retz, Manzella and senior Willie Medina all finished with two hits in the game for the Panthers. Wytiaz, Spano, Angelis and McDermott all picked up an RBI and scored a run in the win.

HPU returns to action on Tuesday, April 23, when the team travels to Durham, N.C., to face the Duke Blue Devils in the first game of a home-and-home midweek series. First pitch in the game is set for 6 p.m.