HPU baseball pounces on NC Central in 10-6 road win

• High Point went on the road and picked up a 10-6 win at NC Central on Wednesday in Durham.
• Junior Hunter Lee went 3-4 in the win with a home run and three RBI.
• Sophomore Matt Hodges threw 2-1/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn his team-high fourth win of the season.

Durham, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team got back in the win column with a 10-6 victory on the road at NC Central on Wednesday night in Durham, N.C. Junior Hunter Lee had three hits, including a home run, and three RBI in the win for the Panthers.

“It feels great to get the win tonight,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Cooper Jeffers got us off on the right foot on the mound and our hitters showed patience at the plate. Hunter Lee had a very nice game with a two-run home run and our bullpen did a nice job taking care of the lead. This was a solid overall team win.”

Lee finished 3-4 at the plate with a home run and a double. The HPU second baseman also scored two runs to go along with his three RBI. Freshman Cody Oerther went 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored while junior Blake Schunk went 1-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Sophomore Matt Hodges notched his team-high fourth win of the season with 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief. The left-hander allowed just two hits while striking out two and improved to 4-1 for the season.

Chris Gonnelli dropped to 0-3 for Central after allowing three runs, two earned on two walks in one-plus innings of work.

The win improves High Point’s record to 11-13 overall on the season while NC Central drops to 13-13 for the year.

High Point scored five runs in the second on just one hit to take a 5-0 lead over the hosts. After the Panthers loaded the bases on an error and two walks, Oerther drew a bases-loaded walk for the first run of the contest. Lee followed with an RBI single then sophomore Conner Dunbar and junior Austen Zente drew back-to-back bases-loaded walks. Lee scored the final run of the frame on a double play to put High Point ahead by five.

The Panthers added three runs in the following inning to push the lead to 8-0. Schunk hit a double and came around to score on a single by Oerther who scored himself when Lee hit his third home run of the season. The HPU second baseman turned on a 2-0 pitch and hit a high shot over the wall in right.

After NC Central scored two in the bottom of the third and one in the fourth to pull to within five at 8-3, the Panthers scored again in the sixth as Dunbar reached on a bunt single and came around to score on an error by the Eagles.

NC Central scored a run in the seventh on a home run by Jake Raby, but High Point answered in the ninth when Greene scored on a throwing error during a double steal.

The hosts scored twice in the ninth to close to within four, but junior Carson Jackson closed out the inning with a ground out to secure a 10-6 win.

High Point hosts its first Big South series of the season this weekend when it welcomes Gardner-Webb to Williard Stadium. The series begins on Friday, March 31, at 6 p.m.

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