HPU baseball guts out 4-3 extra-inning win at Stetson

• High Point earned its second-straight extra-inning win with a 4-3 victory at Stetson in 10 innings.
• The Panthers scored two runs in the top of the 10th on an RBI single by redshirt-senior Tim Mansfield and a sacrifice fly by Zack Gray.
• Sophomore Andrew Gottfried and junior Rion Murrah combined to allow just one earned run while striking out nine in 10 innings.

DELAND, Fla. – The High Point University baseball team scored two runs in the 10th inning and held on for a 4-3 win over Stetson in extra innings on Friday night in DeLand, Fla. Redshirt-senior Tim Mansfield drove in two runs in the game, including the go-ahead run in the 10th.

With the game tied at 2-2 after nine innings, High Point and Stetson entered extra innings. Sophomore Conner Dunbar and junior Austen Zente both reached for the Panthers to leadoff the 10th. After the pair were bunted into scoring position by junior Jordan Sergent, Mansfield hit a single through the right side to score Dunbar and junior ZacK Gray followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Zente.

Stetson managed to score one run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th but junior Rion Murrah got the Hatters’ Matt Spooner to fly out to right to shut the door.

“This was a really good win tonight because Brooke Wilson was special for Stetson,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Our guys hung in there and the little things came into play. Sacrifice bunts, taking the extra base and team at bats are what allowed us to stay in the game. Andrew Gottfried and Rion Murrah did a good job matching Wilson on the mound and were very good for us. This is a great way to start the series and I think tomorrow will be pretty much the same.”

Murrah pitched four innings in relief and allowed just one unearned run on three hits and a walk while striking out five to pick up the win, improving to 1-0 on the season.

Tyler Keller was charged with the loss after giving up two earned runs on two hits and a walk in one inning of work.

Both starting pitchers turned in exemplary efforts in the contest. Sophomore Andrew Gottfried pitched six innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks while striking out four. Stetson’s Brooke Wilson pitched eight innings without giving up a hit, allowing two runs, one earned on five walks while striking out 12.

Mansfield finished 1-2 with two walks and two RBI for the Panthers and Zente went 1-3 with three runs scored and a stolen base.

The win by High Point was the team’s third in a row and its second-straight extra-inning victory. HPU improves to 4-1 on the season while Stetson drops to 2-4.

Zente used his speed to cause havoc in the opening frame. The HPU center fielder drew a leadoff walk and advancing to third on a pickoff error by Wilson before trotting home for the first run of the game on an RBI groundout by junior Jordan Sergent.

Stetson tied the game in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by Jack Gonzalez.

High Point went in front again in the sixth inning and again it was Zente manufacturing a scoring opportunity. The junior was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then stole second before being bunted to third. He then came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Mansfield.

Stetson came back to knot the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the inning on an RBI ground out after an error by the Panthers on a potential double play ball with one out.

The Panthers were still looking for their first hit with two outs in the ninth inning when junior Spencer Brown hit a single to left for HPU’s first hit of the night. It is the latest in the Div. I era that the Panthers have ever gotten their first hit.

High Point and Stetson will continue their three-game series on Saturday, Feb. 25. The Panthers will try and clinch their second-straight weekend series to start the season with a win over the Hatters. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.