HPU Baseball Falls To North Carolina A&T In 10 innings, 7-6

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings before falling to North Carolina A&T by a score of 7-6 in the 10th on Wednesday night at Williard Stadium.

“It is obvious that we were not ready to play this game today,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We failed to execute in any facet of the game at a level that would have allowed us to win today. We need to regroup and get our minds straight before making the trip to Liberty this weekend.”

Trailing 6-1 in the ninth, freshman Chris Clare walked to leadoff the HPU half of the inning. Freshman Brenden Rivera followed with a single to right which rolled between the Aggie right fielder’s legs and to the wall for a two base error, scoring Clare. Rivera then came home two pitches later on a wild pitch to make the score 6-3.

High Point loaded the bases with one out on a fielding error by the NC A&T left fielder, a walk by freshman Josh Greene and a single by redshirt-junior Blake Hutton, bringing up freshman Zach Vandergrift as the go-ahead run. The freshman was then hit by a pitch to score junior Mike Miedzianowski from third, making the score 6-4. Freshman Alex Gross followed with a single up the middle to bring home Greene then Hutton scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 6-6.

An intentional walk to sophomore Brett Gemmell loaded the bases with one out but HPU was unable to drive in the winning run as Clare flied out to shallow center and Rivera grounded out to second.

North Carolina A&T found the winning run in the 10th when Ryan Hill scored on an error by pitcher John Maloney to put the Aggies ahead 7-6. Hill led off the inning with a single and stole second before Brandon Mitchell hit an infield single to first. Maloney was slow to cover the bag and dropped the throw from Gross, allowing the speedy Hill to come home from third.

Maloney took the loss for High Point and fell to 1-2 on the season. The senior allowed one unearned run on two hits and a walk while recording two outs.

Brian Poag earned the win for North Carolina A&T after pitched 1-1/3 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out two.

High Point falls to 12-8 on the season with the loss. North Carolina A&T improves to 9-11.

The Aggies scored twice in the top of the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead. After putting two on with one out thanks to a single and a walk, Ernesto Lizardi hit an RBI single to drive in the first run of the game. The second NC A&T run scored on the play when junior Josh Spano tried to throw behind the runner at first and skipped the ball into the outfield.

North Carolina A&T loaded the bases with one out in the inning and HPU called in freshman RHP Cas Silber to get out of the jam. The freshman struck out two-straight batters to escape any further damage.

Panther starter Peter Ripke lasted just one third of an inning and gave up two runs, one earned on three hits and two walks.

NC A&T added a run in the top of the second inning with a run on a sacrifice fly by Cameron Jergens. The Aggies’ Luke Tendler was caught off first on the play and was thrown out on the play for the final out.

The Aggie lead grew to 6-0 with three unearned runs in the fourth as A&T scored on a single by Tendler, a passed ball and a single by Jergens following a two-out error by junior Tony Fortier-Bensen.

High Point scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI groundout by Gross. HPU put the first two runners on as Greene and Hutton both walked. After a grounder to third moved the runners into scoring position, Gross hit a soft grounder to first to score Greene.

Gross finished 1-4 at the plate and recorded his first multi-RBI game as a Panther, driving in two runs. Greene finished 0-3 but walked three times and scored two of HPU’s six runs.

High Point returns to conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Liberty University. The two teams will open the series on Friday, March 21, at 7 p.m. HPU and Liberty are currently tied for first in the North Division with identical 2-1 marks in conference play.