HPU Baseball Falls To UNC Asheville In Series Opener, 13-6

• High Point lost to UNC Asheville, 13-6, in the series opener on Friday night at Williard Stadium.
• Senior Dane McDermott had three hits and two runs for the Panthers.
• Sophomore Josh Greene hit his team-high sixth home run of the season in the loss.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team dropped the first game of its weekend series against UNC Asheville by a score of 13-6 on Friday night at Williard Stadium. Senior Dane McDermott had three hits in the loss for HPU.

“We were nowhere near good enough tonight,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “They scored nine runs with two outs and 12 of their 13 runs came in innings where we had at least one freebie. We were terrible on the mound and not very good defensively. These guys better get their heads straight.”

Senior John McGillicuddy suffered his first loss since Feb. 27 and dropped to 5-4 on the season. McGillicuddy allowed nine runs, five earned, on seven hits and four walks in four innings of work.

Joe Zayatz pitched seven innings for UNC Asheville to earn the win and improve to 3-6. Zayatz allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

The loss to Asheville was HPU’s first in eight games stretching back to 2012. The Panthers fall back to .500 on the season at 23-23 overall and are now 10-9 in the Big South. UNC Asheville improves to 21-28 and 5-14 in conference play.

A two-out error by freshman Hunter Lee opened the door for UNC Asheville to score two runs in the first and take an early 2-0 lead. Tommy Houmard and Hunter Bryant reached with back-to-back two-out singles and both came around to score in the opening frame.

Asheville doubled its lead in the following inning with a two-run home run by Lucas Owens. The Bulldog catcher hit a high fly ball that carried just over the wall for a two-run shot.

Sophomore Josh Greene cut the Asheville lead in half with a two-run home run of his own in the third inning, his team-high sixth of the season. The HPU centerfielder swung at a 3-1 pitch and hit a hard shot over the wall in straightaway center field to make the score 4-2. Sophomore Chris Clare singled to leadoff the frame and scored on the Greene home run.

UNC Asheville scored three runs in the fourth and two runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 9-2. All five of the Bulldogs’ runs came with two outs as Owens and Houmard hit RBI singles in the fourth and Brett Milazzo drove in two with an RBI single in the fifth.

After Asheville scored a run in the top of the seventh on a solo home run by Justin Woods, High Point came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to pull within five at 10-5. Senior Cody Manzella scored the first run on an error by the Bulldog third baseman and Clare followed with an RBI single to score McDermott. Junior Dominic Fazio drove in senior Tony Fortier-Bensen with a sacrifice fly for the final run in the inning.

UNC Asheville added three runs in the ninth on a wild pitch and a two-run single by Eric Connolly to push its lead to 13-5.

High Point added a run in the bottom of the ninth as McDermott scored his second run of the night in the ninth inning on an RBI groundout by Fortier-Bensen to make the final score 13-6. The senior led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on two-straight wild pitches before scoring on the Fortier-Bensen groundout.

McDermott finished 3-4 at the plate with two runs scored. It was his 11th multi-hit game of the season. Clare picked up three hits for the second-straight game, going 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Green finished 1-4 with a home run and a walk.

High Point will try and even the series with UNC Asheville when the two teams meet in the second game of their three-game series on Saturday, May 8 at Williard Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.