High Point Baseball Drops Seesaw Affair to NC Central, 8-7

• Senior Hunter Lee posted a perfect day at the dish, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.
• Junior JJ Woodard continued his recent hot streak with a pair of hits and three RBI, pushing his hitting streak to five straight.
• Senior Jordan Sergent, the reigning Big South Player of the Week, launched a three-run homer for his second dinger in four games.

DURHAM, N.C. – An unearned run in the last of the seventh proved to be the difference as the High Point University baseball team fell in a back-and-forth contest at NC Central, 8-7, on Wednesday night at Durham Athletic Park.

“This was a tough loss,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “The middle of our bullpen put guys on base for free and they weren’t able to make pitches when they had to. It’s inexcusable. We got 15 hits and seven runs, but we still managed to give them the game tonight.”

High Point (10-10) was all over the base paths in the contest, notching 15 hits, one shy of a season-best. The Panthers stranded a pair in the first before pushing across a run on an RBI single in the top of the second from freshman Tanner Wells.

HPU added to its lead in the fourth with a two-out rally. Senior Hunter Lee doubled to left, his second two-bagger of the game, and promptly scored on an RBI knock from junior JJ Woodard.

NC Central (16-7) got a run back on a solo homer in the last of the fourth, but the Panthers immediately responded in the top half of the fifth via a three-run blast from senior Jordan Sergent. The reigning Big South Player of the Week has now posted four straight multi-RBI games.

The game swung back to the Eagles, though, with six tallies in the home half of the fifth. With two runs already in and the bags packed, Dominic Cuevas cranked a ball to the wall in right-center that scored three runs. The relay throw got away, allowing Cuevas to score and put NCCU on top 7-5.

After a scoreless sixth, High Point tied the game with yet another two-out rally in the seventh. With two on and down in the count 0-2, Woodard scolded a two-run double to the gap to knot the game at seven. Two walks loaded the bases for senior Austen Zente, who worked a full count before popping out.

A leadoff walk came back to bite High Point in the last of the seventh, resulting in the game-winning run. With a runner at second and two gone, a pop-up was missed in the infield and Andrew Valichka was able to scamper in from second for the go-ahead run.

The Panthers put two on in the ninth inning, but a pop-up and a groundout ended the game.

Six different hitters posted multi-hit games for HPU, led by Lee’s perfect day. Lee reached all five times, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored, extending his hitting streak to 12 games in the process. Woodard continued his recent hot streak with three RBI, matching Sergent’s total.

Sophomore Muhammed Eid started for HPU and pitched well in four innings, surrendering only the solo homer in the last of the fourth. In his first start of the year, Eid struck out three and did not walk a batter. Freshman Jacob Kates (0-1) suffered the loss despite yielding just an unearned run in 1.2 innings with four strikeouts.

High Point will welcome Radford to Williard Stadium this weekend for its first Big South home series of the season. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 4 p.m. followed by a 2 p.m. start on Saturday and a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday