HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team pulled out a 10-8 win over Radford to open its three-game series against the Highlanders on Friday night in Williard Stadium. Junior Josh Spano went 3-5 with three RBI to lead the Panthers.
“Tonight was all about getting back on the field and trying to re-establish our rhythm,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Things did not go easy for us on the mound, but I was very pleased with our offensive approach. We showed a lot of resilience after going down on several occasions. It was important that we were able to get the win on Friday night.”
Junior Conor Lourey pitched the final three innings to earn his team-best seventh win of the season for High Point. The right-hander improved to 7-0 on the season after allowing three runs, two earned, on two hits and three walks while striking out eight.
Michael Costello took the loss for Radford after allowing three earned runs on two hits and two walks over one inning of work.
The win was the fifth in a row for the Panthers who improve to 25-16 overall and 12-7 in the Big South. HPU moves into second place in the Big South North Division with the win. Radford drops to 25-19 overall and 10-9 in the Big South following the loss.
The Highlanders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI hits from by Josh Reavis and Hunter Higgerson. High Point came right back in the bottom of the inning with a run of its own on an RBI single by Spano to cut the deficit to 2-1.
After Radford scored its third run of the game in the second on a RBI single by Marshall, the Panthers got on the board again in the third with Spano’s second RBI single of the day.
Radford scored two more runs in the fourth to open a 5-2 lead but High Point responded with one run in the fifth and three in the sixth to take its first lead of the game at 6-5. Juniors Dane McDermott and Spencer Angelis each had RBI singles in the sixth while Spano picked up his third RBI with a double to put High Point in front.
Radford managed to tie the game in the top of the seventh but the Panthers took the lead for good in the bottom of the frame with three runs to go ahead 9-6. McDermott doubled in junior Tony Fortier-Bensen for the go-ahead run. HPU then loaded the bases before scoring two runs on wild pitches by RU pitcher Kyle Zurak.
The Highlanders scored two runs in the eighth to close to within one at 9-8, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Higgerson and a wild pitch by Lourey. The Panthers answered with the 10th and final run of the game in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Fortier-Bensen.
McDermott, Angelis, and Fortier-Bensen all joined Spano with multiple hits in the win for the Panthers. McDermott scored a team-high three runs in the win while Brandenburg, Fortier-Bensen and freshman Josh Greene all finished with two.
Radford leadoff man Josh Gardiner went 1-2 with an RBI and three runs scored in the loss. The Highlander second baseman drew four-straight walks in the game and scored in each of his first three at bats. Patrick Marshall finished 2-3 at the plate with three RBI and a run scored.
HPU starter John McGillicuddy pitched 5-1/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on seven hits and five walks while striking out three. Dylan Nelson started the game for the Highlanders, allowing six runs, five earned on eight hits and a walk over 5-1/3 innings of work.
High Point and Radford will meet for the second game of their three-game series on Saturday, May 3, at 6 p.m., in Williard Stadium. Senior Mike Krumm will take the mound for the Panthers as they try and clinch their fifth conference series of the season.