HPU baseball shuts out La Salle, 4-0

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team (9-4) used an outstanding pitching performance to earn a 4-0 win and complete a two-game sweep of La Salle University Wednesday inside Williard Stadium.

Senior Michael Hennessey pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out six for High Point in an excellent mid-week performance. He scattered five hits and walked just one batter in his outing. The excellent effort dropped his season ERA by more than two runs and improved his record to 2-0 on the year.

Junior Peter Ripke and sophomore Carson Jackson each pitched a scoreless inning to complete HPU’s second shutout in its past four games. The Panthers have given up just six total runs during that four-game stretch.

The Purple & White have won eight of their past nine games.

“Our starting pitching was a bit scattered early in the season but now we’re starting to get quality starts on a regular basis,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “That allows us to do things this team is built to do. We don’t need to score double digit runs to win. Michael Hennessey was sensational today – that’s back-to-back mid-week starts in which he’s pitched into the seventh inning. It’s nice to be on the type of run that we’re putting together.”

The Panthers compiled eight hits on the day, led by Big South preseason Player of the Year Josh Greene, who went 2-for-4 with a triple and drove in a run. Freshmen Nick Blomgren and JJ Woodard each drove in a run on an extra base hit, while senior Dominic Fazio went 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI for the Purple & White.

After a scoreless first, Hennessey battled through two on, no out jams in the second and third innings. But the senior got out of both frames unscathed to keep the score knotted at 0-0.

In the bottom of the third, sophomore Austin Zente picked up an infield single, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Woodard then hammered a double, his first career extra base hit, to drive in HPU’s first run of the game.

Blomgren came up clutch in the bottom of the fourth, doubling to deep left with a big swing that drove in a run and extended the HPU edge to 2-0.

The Panthers tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth. After a walk by Chris Clare, Greene roped a triple into right to drive him in. Then, Fazio singled down the third base line to make it 4-0 Panthers.

Meanwhile, Hennessy cruised through a trio of innings, failing to allow a hit in the fourth, fifth or sixth frames, and got out of the seventh while facing just four batters.

Ripke and Jackson combined to allow just one walk and no hits over the final two innings to close out the victory.

HPU returns to action Friday when the Panthers begin a three-game homestand vs. Rider. First pitch on Friday is set for 4 p.m.