HIGH POINT, N.C. – Freshman Josh Greene hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 12th inning to break a 1-1 tie and give the High Point University baseball team a 2-1 win over Elon on Wednesday night at Williard Stadium. Greene drove in both HPU runs in the win.
“Baseball is a crazy game sometimes,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Our team was relentless and it was great to get this win. I have to give a lot of credit to our pitchers. Peter Ripke had a great start and our bullpen was outstanding. Josh Greene really showed up today with both RBI. Anytime you can win an extra-inning game it is great but this one was something special.”
High Point got the winning run on base with one out in the 12th when junior Tony Fortier-Bensen earned a walk. The Panther shortstop moved to second on a wild pitch then was advanced to third on a bunt single by senior Kyle Brandenburg. Greene came to the plate and worked the count full before lofting a fly ball to center to score Fortier-Bensen.
Freshman Cas Silber earned the win on the mound to improve to 2-0 on the season. Silber pitched a scoreless top of the 12th, allowing no base runners and striking out one.
Jacob Baker was charged with the loss for Elon, falling to 0-1 in 2014. Baker pitched one inning and allowed one earned run on two walks while striking out one. Dimitri Lattas relieved Baker in the 12th and faced two batters, surrendering the bunt single and the sacrifice fly.
High Point improves to 8-5 on the season with the win, its second over the Phoenix in five days, while Elon drops to 8-4.The win is HPU’s fourth extra-inning win of the season, matching the most in a single season in the Panthers’ Div. I era. It is also HPU’s second 2-1 extra-inning win in less than one week, following the 2-1 win over Gardner-Webb in 11 innings on Friday.
The only two runs in the first 11 innings of action came in the sixth as Elon took a 1-0 lead in the top of the inning before HPU came back to tie the game in the bottom of the frame. The Phoenix scored their only run of the game with a bases-loaded walk by Danny Lynch. Elon scored without a hit in the inning, loading the bases on two walks and an error.
High Point tied the game on an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, scoring Fortier-Bensen from second. The shortstop singled to lead off the inning, breaking up a no-hit bid by Elon starter Matt Harris. He then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brandenburg before Greenehit a 2-2 pitch down the right field line to tie the game.
Fortier-Bensen and Greene combined for both Panther runs in the game. Both finished 1-3 in the game, recording two of HPU’s five hits. Fortier-Bensen leads the team this season with 12 runs scored this season while Greene has picked up six RBI in his last two games at Williard Stadium.
Both starting pitchers performed well in the game though neither factored in the final decision. Freshman Peter Ripke pitched five innings for HPU and allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out three. Matt Harris pitched six innings for Elon and allowed one earned run on three hits and a walk while striking out two.
The HPU pitching staff combined to allow just one run on two hits over 12 innings of work while striking out 13 batters. Senior John Maloney pitched four scoreless innings with five strikeouts, junior Conor Lourey pitched 1-1/3 innings with three strikeouts and freshman Jeremy Johnson pitched 2/3 of an inning and struck both batters he faced.
High Point continues its current nine-game home stand this weekend with a three-game series against defending MAC champions Bowling Green. The two teams will open the series on Friday, March 7 at 6 p.m. Junior John McGillicuddy will get the ball on the mound for the Panthers.