HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team earned a 9-2 win over UNC Asheville to open its three-game series against the Bulldogs on Friday evening at Williard Stadium. The win was the Panthers’ 16th in conference play this season, a new HPU Div. I single-season record.
“I am proud that our guys were able to come out and pick up our 16th conference win tonight,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “This is the first time in our Div. I history that we have done that. I was really pleased with our offense tonight. We had a lot of quality at-bats and were productive up and down the lineup. On the pitching side, it was another solid performance. We have set ourselves up well for 18 innings tomorrow. We need to keep building on this as we head toward the conference tournament.”
Junior John McGillicuddy earned the win on the mound to improve to 6-2 on the season. McGillicuddy pitched five innings and allowed one earned run on three hits while striking out four.
Dean Roland took the loss for UNC Asheville, dropping to 2-5 in 2014. Roland pitched 6-1/3 innings and allowed eight runs, five earned on 12 hits and four walks while striking out two.
With the win over UNC Asheville, HPU has eclipsed its previous single-season record of 15 conference wins which it set in 2010, when the team went 15-12, and matched in 2013, when the team went 15-9.
High Point improves to 29-20 overall and 16-9 in the Big South win the win. The Bulldogs drop to 13-38 overall and 4-20 in conference play.
After Asheville took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Hunter Bryant in the top of the first, High Point came right back with two runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 2-1 lead. Juniors Dane McDermott and Brady Williamson both singled to lead of and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Spencer Angelis and an RBI single by junior Josh Spano.
The Panthers used a two-out rally in the fifth to add to their lead, scoring once on an RBI single by freshman Josh Greene to go ahead 3-1. Angelis hit a two-out double to the wall in left and came around to score on the single through the right side by Greene.
HPU opened the game up in the seventh inning with six runs to take a 9-1 lead. Senior Kyle Brandenburg drove in two runs with an RBI single, junior Tony Fortier-Bensen hit into an error at short on which two runs scored and McDermott hit an RBI single to drive in the final two runs for the Panthers.
Asheville added a run in the top of the eighth with a bases-loaded single by Bryant to bring the final score to 9-2. The Bulldogs took advantage of two walks and an error to load the bases ahead of Bryant who hit a soft liner just in front of a diving Williamson.
Five different Panther hitters finished with two hits in the game as McDermott, Williamson, Greene, Brandenburg and freshman Chris Clare all had multi-hit efforts against the Bulldogs. Five HPU players recorded RBI, led by Brandenburg and McDermott who each drove in two. Seven different players scored for High Point including Williamson and Angelis who each scored two runs in the win.
The Panthers wrap up the regular season on Saturday, May 17, with a doubleheader against UNC Asheville at Williard Stadium beginning at 1 p.m. High Point can clinch the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Big South Championship with two wins or a win and a Radford loss.