High Point Baseball Clips No. 21 Coastal, 3-2, to Claim Crown

• High Point earned its second ranked win of the season over No. 21 Coastal Carolina and secured its sixth comeback win of the campaign to win the Environmental Staffing Chanticleer Classic.
• Senior Hunter Lee provided his second game-winning RBI of the weekend against the Chanticleers with a two-out double in the eighth inning.
• Junior Cooper Jeffers earned his first win of the year with 4.1 scoreless innings of relief that included two double plays and two pickoffs.

CONWAY, S.C – The High Point University baseball team capped off a tremendous weekend as champions of the Environmental Staffing Chanticleer Classic, defeating the host and No. 21 Coastal Carolina, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium.

HPU finished the four-game weekend with a 3-1 mark, bettering Ohio State, who split four games, and the Chanticleers, who dropped three of four.

“This was a sensational weekend,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “This is the kind of baseball that we knew we were capable of playing and I’m glad that it showed up this weekend. It was an absolute blast and a lot of fun. We had tremendous energy in the dugout and great performance on the field. I couldn’t ask for more from our guys.”

High Point (8-7) utilized a comeback yet again for the third straight contest and for the sixth time this season. Coastal (12-6) scored twice in the last of the first, but would be held off the board for the final eight innings by a combination of five different Panther pitchers.

HPU promptly cut the deficit in half in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly from junior JJ Woodard. In the fourth inning, freshman Tanner Wells golfed his first career home run inside the left field foul pole to knot the game at two a piece.

On the hill, sophomore Garrett Letchworth wiggled out of a two-on, one-out jam in the third inning before passing the ball on to sophomore Muhammed Eid, who struck out three in 1.2 innings of work.

Junior Cooper Jeffers relieved Eid with two gone in the fifth and got a strikeout to keep CCU off the board. Jeffers (1-0) was just beginning his fabulous day on the mound, picking off back-to-back Chanticleer baserunners in the sixth inning.

With Jeffers in control, HPU moved ahead for good in the top of the eighth. For the second time in three days, it was senior Hunter Lee who provided the game-winning knock. Lee roped a two-out double into the right field corner, allowing senior Carson Jackson to sprint home from first and just get under the tag at the plate.

Lee, who finished 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI, has now driven in five runs with two outs this year, most on the team. All five of his RBI’s during the weekend came in the eighth inning or later.

Staked to the lead, Jeffers coaxed a 5-4-3 double play ball to eliminate a leadoff single in the eighth. A leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth for Coastal, but Jeffers induced a soft line drive to Lee, who doubled off the runner at second to finish off the game.

“I was happy to give our team a chance to win,” Jeffers said. “My breaking ball was really working today so I just let our guys play strong defense behind me. I’m glad we were able to pull out a victory.”

In total, Jeffers pitched 4.1 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, walking two, and striking out four. High Point’s pitching staff held the Chanticleers, who came in averaging nearly nine runs per game, to just three hits after the first inning.

Winners of three straight, HPU is back in action on Tuesday when they return home to take on Ohio. First pitch from Williard Stadium is scheduled for 4 p.m.