ROCK HILL, S.C. – Freshman Cas Silber threw his first collegiate shutout to lead the High Point University baseball team to a 9-0 win over top-seeded Liberty on Thursday night in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Silber allowed just three hits while striking out 12 in the upset win.
“This was a special game in all aspects tonight,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We were tremendous offensively and all the buttons we pushed seemed to be working. On the mound, you can’t be much better than Cas Silber was tonight. I am proud of the guys and excited to be in the position that we are in.”
Silber pitched nine shutout innings against the Flames, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out 12. It was the second double-digit strikeout game of the season for the right-hander.
Only two Liberty base runners reached third against Silber. The freshman retired nine-straight LU batters to finish the game, striking out the side in the eighth inning. With the win, Silber improved to 5-0 on the season.
Blake Fulghum took the loss for Liberty, dropping to 4-3 on the season. Fulghum pitched just 2-2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on seven hits and walk while striking out one.
High Point improves to 33-20 overall with the win over Liberty. The two-straight wins in the Big South Tournament matches HPU’s best start to a conference tournament. The Panthers previously won the first two games of their Big South Tournaments in 2009 and 2010.
Liberty drops to 40-15 overall with the loss. The shutout was just the second suffered by the Flames this season.
High Point scored five times in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead over the Flames. The Panthers strung together four-straight RBI singles from junior Josh Spano, freshman Josh Greene, senior Kyle Brandenburg
HPU added three runs in the fifth, extending its lead to 8-0. The Panthers first two base runners reached when a pitch hit Greene and Brandenburg had a bunt single. Manzella ripped a double into to left-center gap to score Greene and Brandenburg scored on a wild pitch before freshman Chris Clare lofted a sacrifice fly to score Manzella.
The Panthers added one final run in the eighth inning to bring the final score to 9-0. Junior Brady Williamson led off the inning with a double to the wall in right-center then came around to score on back-to-back groundouts by junior Spencer Angelis and Spano.
Every member of the HPU starting lineup recorded a hit in the win on Thursday. Manzella finished 3-5 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored while Brandenburg went 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored.
High Point advances on to the semifinals of the 2014 Big South Baseball Championship on Saturday, May 24, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Panthers will play the winner of the Friday’s game between Campbell and Coastal Carolina at 10 a.m., in Winthrop Ballpark.