• Senior Andrew Gottfried posted his second quality start of Big South play, giving up just one run in seven innings to pick up his fourth win of the year.
• Continuing their recent hot streaks, seniors Austen Zente and Blake Schunk each recorded their third home runs in their last four games, respectively.
• Senior Hunter Lee utilized a two-strike, two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to 21 games.
CHARLESTON, S.C. – A masterful performance on the mound and one big inning at the plate pushed the High Point University baseball team past Charleston Southern, 7-2, in the series opener at CSU Ballpark on Friday night.
“Andrew Gottfried went out and gave us a tremendous start that you want to see on a Friday night,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “It gave us a chance to get comfortable offensively, and we exploded for five runs in the fourth, which was really all we needed. Once again, we played flawless defense and got ourselves set up to go out tomorrow and secure the series.”
High Point (15-14, 7-3) senior starter Andrew Gottfried led the way on the hill with his second quality start against conference competition. Gottfried (4-2) ceded a run on three hits in the second inning, but otherwise was nearly unblemished in seven innings on the bump.
After the early run, Gottfried faced one over the minimum in his final five innings, coaxing a pair of double plays and allowing only three balls to leave the infield after the second inning. Gottfried punched out seven, one shy of a season-high, and scattered five hits and a walk in his outing. He lowered his Big South ERA to 1.16 (3 ER/23.1 IP) in the process.
After a relatively slow start, HPU broke through against Charleston Southern (11-21, 3-7) starter Tyler Weekley (1-5) in the top of the fourth for five runs. With two on and one down, junior JJ Woodard lifted a ground-rule double to right to even the game, 1-1. Senior Blake Schunk followed with an RBI single to left and Woodard later scored on a throwing error to put High Point up 3-1.
Senior Austen Zente provided the capper for the frame with a no-doubt, two-run homer over the scoreboard in left field. He now leads the team with six long balls, three of which have come in his last four games. Zente paced HPU with three hits, two RBI, and two runs scored. He has now scored at least one run in 12 straight games and touched home 22 times in the stretch.
The Panthers put the game to bed with a pair of tallies in the ninth inning. Schunk led off the frame with a solo shot to straightaway center field for his third homer of the year, all having come in the last four games. The third baseman was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Woodard and freshman Travis Holt provided two hits apiece.
With two outs in the top of the ninth and a runner at third, senior Hunter Lee blooped a two-strike single into right field to drive in a run and extend his hitting streak to 21 games.
Due to the potential for inclement weather, Saturday’s middle game of the series has been moved up to an 11 a.m. first pitch The two teams will then wrap up the series on Sunday at 2 p.m.