HIGH POINT, N.C. – Playing its fifth game in as many days, the High Point University baseball team fell at home to Duke by a score of 4-2 on Wednesday night at Williard Stadium. Sophomore Spencer Angelis reached base three times in four at bats for HPU in the loss.
“It is obviously disappointing to lose two games like this heading into the break,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “I give a lot of credit to the Duke pitching staff. They pitched us aggressively in these two games and took it to our hitters. We are a little fatigued right now and it is a good time for a break. There is still a lot to be done ahead of us but I like our ball club and where we are at right now.”
High Point drops to 22-22 on the season with the loss while Duke improves to 24-20.
The Panthers took advantage of a leadoff walk by senior Willie Medina in the bottom of the first as the shortstop came around to score, putting HPU ahead 1-0. Medina was bunted over to second by senior Devin Bujnovsky and moved to third on a grounder to second by sophomore Josh Spano before scoring on an error by the Duke shortstop.
Duke took the lead in the top of the third inning with three runs on an RBI double by Jordan Betts. The Blue Devils loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk ahead of Betts who hit a line drive to the wall in left to clear them.
High Point pushed across a run on a sacrifice fly after loading the bases with no out in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 3-2. Angelis and senior Ryan Retz led off the inning with back-to-back singles ahead of graduate student Adam Barry who hit a grounder to first and dove into the bag ahead of the Duke first baseman to load the bases. Sophomore Cody Manzella then drove in the only run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Angelis finished the game 1-3 at the plate with a walk and a run scored. Manzella picked up the Panthers’ lone RBI in the game while also going 1-2 for the night.
Duke added an insurance run in the top of the eighth with a sacrifice fly by Kenny Koplove to make the score 4-2. The Blue Devils looked poised for a big inning, loading the bases with no outs on two errors and a single, until sophomore Joe Goodman came from the bullpen and worked out of the jam. Goodman got a force out at home on a ground ball to third, the sacrifice fly and a fly ball to center to end the threat.
Senior Ryan Retz pitched well for High Point but took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, in seven-plus innings of work. Retz gave up 10 hits and one walk while striking out one. Goodman pitched the final two innings for the Panthers, retiring six-straight Duke batters.
Dalton Brown pitched five innings and allowed just one unearned run on one hit to earn the win for Duke. Brown limited the Panthers to just one hit and two walks while striking out two. Andrew Istler earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth for the Blue Devils.
High Point will be off for the next 10 days during exams. The Panthers return to action on Friday, May 3, when they host Big South North Division leader Campbell in the first game of a three-game weekend series. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.