ROCK HILL, S.C. – The High Point University baseball team was eliminated from the 2014 Big South Baseball Championship with a 2-1 walk-off loss to Campbell in the Big South Semifinals on Saturday afternoon in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Panthers finish the season with a 33-22 overall record.
“This has been a sensational year for this team,” head coach Craig Cozart said. ” I am proud of this team and the sensational heart they have shown. We played good baseball today, but the runs just weren’t showing up when we needed them. I hate that it ends this way for our seniors but I know they had a great experience this season. We have a tremendous ball club coming back and these guys will use this heartache to push themselves to another level for next year.”
Campbell broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with an RBI single from Elijah Trail. The Camels got a one-out single from Matt Parrish and had runners on the corners after an error by junior Dane McDermott at second base. The Panthers appeared to get the second out with a strikeout of Seth LaRue, but the call was overruled when the umps met and determined that the third strike hit the dirt and LaRue had reached first, loading the bases. Trail came to the plate and lined a 0-1 pitch to center to score pinch runner Drew Butler from third.
Senior John Maloney took the loss for the Panthers after allowing one run on one hit while striking out two in one inning of work. Maloney was forced to leave the game with the bases loaded and one out after it was ruled that HPU had already made two trips to the mound in the inning. The senior was charged with the loss when his inherited runner scored, dropping him to 3-4 in his final collegiate season.
Junior John McGillicuddy started the game on short rest for the Panthers and pitched 5-1/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out two. The junior got 11 of his 16 outs via ground ball.
Ryan Thompson earned the win for Campbell, improving to 6-2 on the season. Thompson pitched 2-2/3 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit to earn the win. Coley Thompkins started for the Camels and pitched 4-1/3 innings, allowing one run on seven hits and a walk.
Campbell struck first in the contest, scoring a run in the first inning to inning to take the early lead. Steven Leonard led off with a single and came around to score from second on an RBI single by Matt Nadolski.
The Panthers tied the game in the third with a run on an RBI single by junior Josh Spano, knotting the game at 1-1. Junior Brady Williamson hit a two-out double and after an intentional walk to junior Spencer Angelis, Spano hit a single through the left side to score Williamson and tie the game.
Spano finished 1-3 with an RBI while Angelis went 2-2 with a walk. Williamson finished 1-4 with a double and scored HPU’s only run in the loss. Freshman Josh Greene also had multiple hits in the game, finishing 2-3 with a double.
Campbell improves to 39-19 on the season and advances on the 2014 Big South Baseball Championship Game on Sunday, May 25, where the Camels will face tournament host and No. 2-seed Winthrop at 2 p.m.
High Point finishes the 2014 season with a 33-22 overall record. The Panthers enjoyed their most successful season in the Div. I era. High Point set Div. I single-season marks in total overall wins and winning percentage as well as total conference wins and winning percentage.
HPU baseball drops first game of Big South Semifinals to Campbell
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The High Point University baseball team fell to No. 3 seed Campbell in the Big South Semifinals on Saturday morning by a score of 3-1. The loss was the Panthers’ first in the double-elimination tournament. High Point and Campbell will now face each other in a winner-take-all seven-inning game at 5 p.m., in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
“Today’s game came down to two bases-loaded situations,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We loaded the bases in the first and couldn’t get anything out of it, they loaded the bases in the fifth and put three on the board. In a close game when you get an opportunity or two with runners in scoring position you have to cash in and we didn’t do that. We are still in position to accomplish what our ultimate goal is so we will get ready to play seven innings this evening.”
Graduate student Jon Carlson suffered the loss for the Panthers, dropping to 2-3 on the season. Carlson pitched 4-1/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out one. The left-hander left the game in the fifth with the score still 0-0 and a runner on first who eventually scored.
Heath Bowers got the start for Campbell and pitched 6-1/3 innings to improve to 10-3 on the season. Bowers allowed just one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out eight. Ryan Thompson pitched the final 2-2/3 innings and allowed just two hits while striking out two to earn his league-best 17th save of the season.
Campbell ended a scoreless stalemate in the fifth inning, scoring three runs with two outs to go ahead, 3-0. The Camels loaded the bases with one out on a bunt single, a walk and a single to right. Junior Conor Lourey came in and got a strikeout for the second out before a passed ball allowed the first run to score and a bases-loaded single by Seth LaRue drove in two more.
High Point got a run back in the seventh, scoring on an RBI single by junior Josh Spano to pull to within two at 3-1. Freshman Chris Clare led off the inning with a single and came around to score from second when Spano hit a two-out single through the right side.
The Panthers got the tying run to the plate in the ninth after junior Dane McDermott hit a one-out double but junior Brady Willimson was called out on strikes and junior Spencer Angelis grounded out to second to end the game.
Williamson and Spano each had two hits in the game for the Panthers as Williamson went 2-5 and Spano went 2-4 with an RBI.
The Panthers and Camels will return to Winthrop Ballpark at 5 p.m. for the second and final game of their Big South Semifinal matchup.