HPU Baseball Ends Regular Season With 8-7 Loss At Liberty

• High Point fell at Liberty by a score of 8-7 in the regular season finale on Saturday.
• Sophomore Chris Clare had three hits, an RBI and two runs scored while senior Brady Williamson went 2-5 with two RBI and a run scored.
• The Panthers earned the No. 5 seed in the Big South Tournament and will face Liberty again on Tuesday.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The High Point University baseball team lost to Liberty in the final game of the regular season by a score of 8-7 on Saturday afternoon in Lynchburg, Va. Sophomore Chris Clare had three hits and two runs for the Panthers.

“Today was a heck of a game,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We tried to piece it together on the mound today and they put up some runs but we came back and found a way to tie the game twice. Our guys showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight today.”

Junior Michael Hennessey suffered the loss for the Panthers, dropping to 2-5 on the season. The HPU right-hander pitched one inning and allowed one earned run on one hit with one strikeout.

Alex Close picked up the win in relief for Liberty and improved to 2-2 on the season. Close pitched the final 1-2/3 innings and allowed just one hit and two walks.

The Panthers finish the regular season with a 27-24 overall record and a 14-10 mark in the Big South. Liberty ends the year with a 33-21 record and a 16-8 mark in the Big South.

High Point jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI groundout by freshman Carson Jackson and an RBI single by senior Tony Fortier-Bensen. The Panthers loaded the bases ahead of Jackson and Fortier-Bensen with three-straight singles by sophomore Chris Clare and seniors Josh Spano and Spencer Angelis.

Liberty came back to take the lead with four runs in the second inning, going ahead 4-2. Clay Keranan drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Nick Salisbury tied the game with a suicide squeeze. An RBI double by Ashton Perritt and an RBI single by Alex Close plated the final two runs as the Flames went up by two.

High Point scored a run in the third and another in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4. Angelis drove in Clare in the third with an RBI groundout after the HPU second baseman singled to leadoff the inning and Spano hit a ground-rule double. The following inning, freshman Hunter Lee hit a pinch-hit home run over the bullpen in right to tie the game. The home run was the first of Lee’s HPU career.

The Flames retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single by Dalton Britt then added two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run home run by Close to go ahead 7-4.

High Point battled back to tie the game at 7-7 with three runs in the eighth inning. Senior Brady Williamson drove in the first two runs with an RBI triple then came home to tie the game on an RBI single by Clare.

Liberty quickly retook the lead in the bottom of the inning as Perritt hit a solo home run to center on the first pitch from Hennessey to put the Flames ahead, 8-7.

The Panthers nearly tied the game again in the ninth as sophomore Josh Greene earned a two-out walk and Lee reached on an error. Senior Dane McDermott followed Lee with a single to left but Greene was thrown out at home for the final out of the game.

Clare finished 3-5 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored. Williamson and Spano also recorded multiple hits for HPU on the day with Williamson going 2-5 with two RBI and a run scored and Spano going 2-4 with a walk and a run scored.

High Point earned the No. 5 seed in the 2015 Big South Tournament and will play Liberty in the second game of the evening session on Tuesday, May 19, in Boiling Springs, N.C. The game will begin 45 minutes after the conclusion of the game between top seed Radford and Longwood, which begins at 4:30 p.m.