ROCK HILL, S.C. – The High Point University baseball team opened the 2014 Big South Baseball Championship with a 3-2 win over No. 5-seed Radford on Tuesday night in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Junior Brady Williamson went 3-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI in the win.
“This game was exactly what we thought it would be, it was a battle,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Radford played extremely hard but were were fortunate enough to scrap a few runs together in the middle innings. That allowed us to bring in Conor Lourey at the end. I was proud that our guys figured out how to manufacture some runs. This should help vault us into a good game against Liberty tomorrow night.”
Junior Conor Lourey earned the win with three innings of scoreless relief for the Panthers, improving to 9-0 on the season. Lourey allowed just two hits while striking out four over his three innings of work. HPU starter John McGillicuddy pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six.
Daniel Bridgeman took the loss for Radford to drop to 3-2 on the season. Bridgeman allowed one-earned run on one hit while striking out one in 1/3 of an inning pitched. Michael Boyle started the game for the Highlanders and allowed two runs, one earned on six hits while striking out six in 5-2/3 innings pitched.
High Point improves to 32-20 overall on the season with the win. The 32 wins by the Panthers this season is a new HPU Div. I single-season record, besting the previous record of 31 wins set in 2010. Radford drops to 32-22 with the loss to HPU.
Radford took advantage of a two-out walk in the fourth to take a 1-0 lead over the Panthers. Shane Johnsonbaugh drew the walk for the Highlanders and took second on a wild pitch by McGillicuddy before coming home to score on an RBI single from Zach Woolcock.
The Highlanders doubled their lead in the sixth with a run on a sacrifice fly by Alexander Lee, making the score 2-0. Patrick Marshall led off the inning with a double jut out of the reach of freshman Josh Greene in center then took third on a wild pitch before scoring on the Lee fly ball.
High Point scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot the game up at 2-2. Williamson led off the HPU half of the frame with a triple that split the fielders in right-center and rolled to the wall. Junior Spencer Angelis drove in Williamson with a single and came around to score when junior Josh Spano singled and the ball got past the Highlander leftfielder.
The Panthers took their first lead of the night one inning later, scoring once on an RBI single by Williamson to take a 3-2 lead. Freshman Chris Clare was hit by a pitch then took third on a heads up piece of base running on a sacrifice bunt by junior Dane McDermott. The throw on the bunt pulled the Highlander first baseman off the bag giving HPU runners at the corners. Williamson followed with his third hit of the night to give High Point the 3-2 lead.
Williamson, Angelis and Spano combined for all seven of High Point’s hits in the game as Williamson went 3-4 and both Angelis and Spano went 2-4. Angelis also finished with a run scored and an RBI in the win.
High Point advances on to the second round of the 2014 Big South Baseball Championship and will face top-seeded Liberty on Wednesday night in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The game between the Panthers and Flames is the second game of the evening session and will begin approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the game between No. 2 Winthrop and No. 6 Coastal Carolina.