Big Innings Boost Ohio Over HPU Baseball, 11-7

• Junior JJ Woodard connected on his first career home run as part of a 2-for-3 day with two extra-base hits.
• Senior Jordan Sergent also collected a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with his first home run of the campaign and three RBI.
• Despite taking the loss, redshirt-sophomore Harrison Smith was strong in relief, striking out a team season-best nine in 4.2 innings.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Ohio University used a pair of five-run frames and rode the long ball to an 11-7 victory over the High Point University baseball team on a windy Wednesday afternoon at Williard Stadium.

“Give Ohio all the credit,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “The elements were perfect for hitting today and they hit the ball out of the park with regularity. It was good to see JJ (Woodard) and Jordan (Sergent) hit their first home runs. Unfortunately nobody was on base.”

Both teams took advantage of the wind whipping out to left field, combining to blast seven home runs. Ohio (10-6) accounted for five of the dingers including a two-run and three-run shot in the second inning to grab a 5-0 lead.

HPU (8-8), as has been the case most of the season, responded to tie and take the lead with a six-run frame in the last of the third. Junior JJ Woodard ignited the rally with a towering solo homer, his first hit of the campaign and first long ball of his career. After a walk and a single, redshirt-junior Daniel Millwee drove in junior Conner Dunbar with an RBI double to right field. Two batters later, senior Hunter Lee extended his team-best hitting streak to eight games with a two-run single up the middle, drawing HPU to within 5-4.

Senior Jordan Sergent capped off the outburst three batters later with a two-out, two-run single through the right side, vaulting the Panthers in front, 6-5. Sergent would add a solo home run of his own in the last of the eighth inning for his first blast of the year. For the second time in five games, Sergent drove in three runs, which tied a career-high.

On the mound, redshirt-sophomore Harrison Smith settled things down for the Panthers, keeping the Bobcats off the board in the third and fourth innings. Smith (0-2) struck out five straight batters at one point and ended up with a team season-high nine punchouts in 4.2 innings of relief. The righthander did allow a game-tying solo homer in the top of the fifth and left after issuing a leadoff walk in the seventh.

Ohio pounced on the pitching change with a go-ahead RBI double and a two-run homer in a three-pitch span against freshman Jacob Kates to surge in front, 9-6. A walk and a two-run homer gave the Bobcats their second five-run inning of the game and an 11-6 lead they would not relinquish.

High Point only mustered three hits after its six-run third inning and was unable to mount a second comeback. Woodard finished 2-for-3 with a double, home run, run scored and RBI, while Millwee and Sergent both went 2-for-4 in the contest. Lee’s two-run single gave him the team lead with 15 RBI.

The Panthers open up conference play this weekend with a three-game series in Farmville, Va. against Longwood. First pitch on Friday and Saturday is scheduled for 4 p.m. and the series wraps up on Sunday at 2 p.m.