HPU baseball opens weekend with 6-4 win over Gardner-Webb

• High Point opened the weekend with a 6-4 win over Gardner-Webb on Friday at Williard Stadium.
• The Panthers scored two runs in the eighth to break a 4-4 tie and claim the win.
• Sophomore Andrew Gottfried matched his career high with 7-2/3 innings pitched and set a new career high with eight strikeouts.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team opened its weekend series against Gardner-Webb with a 6-4 win over the Runnin’ Bulldogs on Friday night at Williard Stadium.

With the score tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth, the Panthers scored two runs to go in front and claim the series-opening win. Junior Spencer Brown hit a one-out double to drive in junior Carson Jackson for the go-ahead run and junior Blake Schunk followed with an RBI single to drive in junior Hunter Lee.

“This was a heck of a ballgame tonight and a tremendous team win,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We did a great job on the mound and played fantastic defense. It was also our best game all season as far as timely hitting is concerned. This was a game we needed badly and it should lead us into tomorrow when we will come out here with the intent of winning the series.”

Senior Matt Hodges got the final four outs of the contest to earn his fifth win, improving to 5-1 on the season. Sophomore Andrew Gottfried started the game for HPU and set a new career high with eight strikeouts while also matching his career high of 7-2/3 innings of work.

Aaron Stewart took the loss for Gardner-Webb and dropped to 0-1 in 2017 after allowing two earned runs on one hit and one walk in two-thirds of an inning.

The Big South win is High Point’s second of the season as the Panthers improve to 12-13 overall and 2-5 in the conference. Gardner-Webb falls to 12-15 overall with the loss and drops to 1-3 in the Big South.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs got on the board with a solo home run by Danny Sullivan in the second inning and the score remained 1-0 until the fifth when High Point scored three times to go in front, 3-1. Junior Austen Zente drove in the first two runs of the game for HPU with a two-run home run, his team-high sixth of the season. Redshirt-senior Tim Mansfield then followed the Zente home run with a single and came around to score on an RBI double by junior Josh Greene.

After Gardner-Webb tied the game with a two-run home run in the sixth, High Point came back with a run in the seventh to go back in front, 4-3. Zente drew a two-out walk and stole second before scoring on an RBI single by Mansfield.

Jackson finished 3-4 at the plate in the win for the Panthers while both Mansfield and Schunk recorded two hits in the contest. Zente finished 1-3 on the night with two RBI and two runs scored.

High Point and Gardner-Webb continue their three-game series on Saturday, April 1, at Williard Stadium. The Panthers will try and claim their first Big South series win of the season with a win over GWU. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.