HPU baseball drops series opener to Marist, 8-6

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team was undone by a five-run third inning in its 8-6 loss to Marist on Friday at Williard Stadium. Juniors Chris Clare and Josh Greene and sophomore Carson Jackson all had two hits in the loss.

“This team is supposed to built on pitching and defense and for four game you wouldn’t know it if you were to come watch us play,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We create situations on the mound and don’t make plays defensively. If you aren’t averaging six or seven runs a game that is a losing formula. That is what we are putting out on the field. It is time for guys to step up and play to their capabilities.”

Hoffman dropped to 0-2 on the season after giving up six runs, four earned on six hits and a walk while striking out five. Junior Jeremy Johnson pitched a season-high 3-1/3 innings of relief, allowing two unearned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out four.

Sean Keenan got the start and the win for Marist. The sophomore gave up three earned runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts. Ryan Thomas pitched the final 1-1/3 innings and allowed just two hits to pick up a save.

The Panthers fall to 1-3 with the loss while Marist moves back to .500 at 2-2.

High Point jumped out a 3-0 lead in the first two innings, scoring once in the first and twice in the second. Senior Dominic Fazio continued his hot start to the season with an RBI single to drive in Clare in the first. One inning later, freshman JJ Woodard hit a sacrifice fly and sophomore Hunter Lee connected for an RBI double to drive in two more runs.

Marist came back to take the lead in the top of the third, scoring five runs. The Red Foxes had six singles in the frame and took advantage of two errors and two passed balls to go ahead, 5-3.

An RBI double by Matt Pagano in the sixth and an RBI double by Frank Gregoire in the seventh drove in three more runs for Marist as the Red Foxes built their lead out to 8-3 before HPU responded with two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a Fazio sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Jackson.

The Panthers pulled within two on an RBI single by Greene in the eighth and brought the tying run to the plate in each of the final two innings but could not get over the hump, falling by a final score of 8-6.

Greene finished 2-4 at the plate with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Clare went 2-5 with two runs scored and Jackson finished 2-5 with an RBI. Fazio went 1-3 with a walk and two RBI.

High Point and Marist will meet for the second game of their three-game weekend series on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Williard Stadium. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.