HPU Baseball Loses On The Road at Duke, 5-4

Durham, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team fell to Duke by a score of 5-4 on the road in Durham, N.C., in the first game of a home-and-home midweek series on Tuesday night. Senior Ryan Retz went 2-4 in the contest with one RBI and one run scored.

“We tried to make a run at it late and it just didn’t turn out for us tonight,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “It was a little disappointing to be backwards on our strikeout-to-walk ration on the mound, I think that is what beat us. Now we have to get ready to go tomorrow. Our guys are pretty fatigued right now, but that is when we have to reach down and find another level so we can figure out a way to get a win tomorrow heading into exams.”

The loss ends a four-game winning streak for HPU which falls to 22-21 on the season. Duke improves to 23-20 with the win.

High Point took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second, scoring a run without registering a hit. Sophomore Spencer Angelis led off the inning with a chopper to third which the Blue Devils’ third baseman sailed over the head of the first baseman allowing Angelis to reach second. The sophomore moved to third on a groundout by Retz then came home on a hard grounder up the middle by senior Scott Glover.

The Blue Devils moved in front with three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Duke scored all three runs with two outs as Jeff Kremer, Jordan Betts and Chris Marconcini all picked up RBI singles.

The Panthers cut the two-run deficit in half in the top of the seventh inning, pushing across one run to make the score 3-2. Retz singled on a slow grounder to third and moved to third on a one-out single by sophomore Cody Manzella. On the second pitch to graduate student Adam Barry, Duke starter Michael Matuella bounced the ball past the catcher allowing Retz to score on a wild pitch.

One inning later, High Point scored two twice to jump back ahead by a score of 4-3. Senior Devin Bujnovsky reached with a one-out double when his fly ball was lost in the lights and dropped between the Duke left fielder and center fielder. Sophomore Stephen Wytiaz followed with a double down the line to score McDermott, tying the game at 3-3, then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Retz.

Duke took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth, scoring twice to go up 5-4. A leadoff walk and a double by Marconcini tied the game at 4-4 and a single by Kenny Koplove scored Marconi for the winning run.

Wytiaz finished 1-1 with an RBI and a run scored after entering the game late as a defensive replacement. Manzella and McDermott each finished with RBIs for the Panthers while Bujnovsky and Angelis both scored a run.

Senior Zach Haile was charged with the loss for High Point after allowing two runs in 1-1/3 inning of work out of the bullpen.

Duke’s Andrew Istler pitched the final two innings to pick up the win. Istler allowed two runs on four hits while striking out two.

High Point will play its fifth game in as many days on Wednesday, April 24, when it returns home to wrap up its home-and-home series against the Blue Devils. First pitch at Williard Stadium is set for 6 p.m.