HPU baseball picks up an 11-2 win over Bowling Green in series opener

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team scored nine runs in the first three innings on its way to an 11-2 win over Bowling Green on Saturday night at Williard Stadium. Senior Kyle Brandenburg went 3-5 with three RBI and two runs scored in the win.

“It’s great to start this series off with a good win,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Bowling Green came out very aggressively in the first few innings, but we were able to answer what they were doing offensively. John McGillicuddy settled in and pitched well and our bullpen was tremendous once again. I was very excited about the sustained offensive approach we showed throughout the game. Hopefully we can do that for 18 innings tomorrow.”

Junior John McGillicuddy earned his first win in a Panther uniform, improving to 1-1 on the mound in four starts. McGillicuddy pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits and three walks while striking out three. Junior Jordan Skavinsky and freshman Sean Barry pitched the final three innings and combined to allow just two walks while striking out five.

Cody Apthorpe took the loss for Bowling Green, dropping to 1-2 on the season. Apthorpe pitched 2-2/3 innings and allowed nine runs, four earned, on six hits and two walks while striking out one.

High Point improves to 9-5 on the season with the win over the Falcons. HPU is 9-2 in its last 11 games after opening the season by losing three-straight at Mercer. Bowling Green moves to 2-8 on the season with the loss.

Bowling Green took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with a sacrifice fly by T.J. Losby but the Panthers came right back with three runs in the bottom of the second to go ahead 3-1. Junior Tony Fortier-Bensen had the big hit of the inning with a two-run single to put HPU ahead. Junior Cody Manzella and freshman Chris Clare reached to leadoff the frame and came around to score on a single down the line by Fortier-Bensen. The HPU shortstop moved to second on a throwing error then scored on a double to the right-center gap by senior Kyle Brandenburg.

High Point took control of the game one inning later with six runs to go ahead 9-1. The Panthers loaded the bases and scored two runs on an RBI single by Manzella and a hit-by-pitch by Clare. Brandenburg and freshmanJosh Greene then each drove in two with RBI singles to put HPU up eight.

After Bowling Green scored its second run of the game with an RBI single by Logan Walker in the top of the fifth, High Point picked up two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 11-2. Brandenburg led off the inning with a single over the second base bag and came around to score when Greene tripled into the right field corner. Spano then drove in Greene and reached on a throwing error by the BGSU shortstop.

Greene finished the game hitting 3-5 with three RBI and a run scored. He leads the team this season with 11 RBI in 11 games played. Manzella and Clare both finished 2-4 at the plate with one RBI and two runs scored.

Saturday’s win marks the fourth-straight game, and fifth game overall, that the Panthers have allowed five or fewer hits. High Point has now held opponents to fewer than 10 hits in all but one game this season and leads the Big South with a .195 opponents’ batting average on the season.

HPU and Bowling Green will conclude their three-game series on Sunday, March 9, with a double header at Williard Stadium. The first game is set to begin at 1 p.m.