HPU baseball falls at home to North Carolina Central, 11-5

• High Point dropped its third-straight game with an 11-5 loss to North Carolina Central on Tuesday.
• The Panthers scored three-straight runs in the seventh and eighth to tie the game only to see Central score six with two outs in the ninth.
• Junior Carson Jackson finished 2-5 at the plate with a double and two runs scored.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team fell at home to North Carolina Central by a score of 11-5 on Tuesday night at Williard Stadium. The Panthers rallied to tie the game in the eighth but gave up six runs in the ninth to Central.

“If you look at the box score you would see that we got beat in every aspect of the game,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “There wasn’t one area in which we were better than them tonight. All the credit goes to North Carolina Central, they kicked out rear ends.”

With the score tied 5-5 in the ninth, NC Central scored six-straight runs with two outs on four hits and a bases-loaded walk to rally for the 11-6 win.

Sophomore Matt Hodges took the loss and dropped to 1-1 on the season. The left-hander allowed four earned runs on five hits in 2-1/3 innings while striking out five.

Nick Caregnato improved to 1-0 on the mound for NC Central after giving up one run on one hit and four walks in one inning of work.

High Point and NC Central both move to 4-4 on the season with the result.

The Panthers scored two runs in the second to take a 2-0 lead in the contest. Junior Carson Jackson led off the bottom of the frame with a double and came around to score on a double by junior Hunter Lee. The HPU second baseman then scored the second run of the inning on an error by the Central shortstop.

NC Central got one run back in the fifth and two in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead. Andrew Valichka led off with a walk and came around to score on a single by Carter Williams. In the following inning, doubles by Zach Michalski, Dominic Cuevas and Valichka pushed two runs across to give Central the lead.

After the Eagles scored twice in the top of the seventh to extend the lead to 5-2, High Point came back with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to close to within one. A single by sophomore Nick Niarchos and a double by sophomore Conner Dunbar put two runners in scoring position for junior Jordan Sergent who ripped a triple down the line to score both.

The Panthers tied the game in the eighth when Jackson scored on an error with two outs by Central. The junior led off the HPU half of the inning with a single and moved to third on a sac bunt and a ground ball. A ground ball to the shortstop by freshman Cody Oerther looked destined to end the inning but the fielder tried to flip the ball to the second baseman who was not at the bag and Jackson ran home to tie the score.

Jackson and Dunbar both recorded multiple hits in the contest as Jackson finished the game 2-5 with two runs scored and Dunbar went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored.

High Point is back in action tomorrow when the Panthers head to nearby Greensboro, N.C., for a midweek game against inter-Triad rival UNCG. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.