HPU BASEBALL: Runnin’ Bulldogs Slip By Panthers, 4-2

• High Point racked up 14 base hits, but stranded 12 runners on base and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
• Senior Carson Jackson established a new season high with four hits, going 4-for-5 with an RBI.
• Senior Hunter Lee extended his hitting streak to 25 games with a 1-for-5 day at the dish.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team doubled up Gardner-Webb in hits, but was ultimately bested in the column that counts, 4-2, in the series opener on Friday night at Moss Stadium. The loss snapped High Point’s four-game winning streak.

“Tonight was a clinic on how not to win a ball game,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We get two hits with runners in scoring position, we don’t field two bunts, and we throw a ball away on a pickoff. When you don’t defend and you don’t hit with runners in scoring position, this is what you get.”

High Point (18-15, 9-4) had the better of the opportunities in the game, but was unable to find the clutch knock. Senior Austen Zente opened the scoring with a two-out solo homer in the top of the third for a 1-0 lead. Zente’s team-leading eighth round-tripper of the year extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Freshman Travis Holt, senior Hunter Lee, and senior Carson Jackson followed with singles, but Holt was cut down on a close play at the plate to end the third inning. Lee’s single was his lone knock of the day, good enough to extend his hitting streak to 25 games.

The Panthers had two in scoring position with nobody out, and ultimately loaded the bases in the fourth inning, but a strikeout ended the threat.

After Gardner-Webb (21-15, 7-6) tied the game with a solo homer in the last of the fourth, HPU again loaded the bases with two down in the fifth before a flyout truncated the rally.

Junior Andrew Gottfried pitched extremely well for High Point, but was dealt the tough-luck loss. Gottfired (4-3) carried a one-hitter into the seventh inning before a two-out bunt single turned into a run after an RBI double. Gardner-Webb added two runs in the last of the eighth against Gottfired on a sacrifice fly and a solo homer.

In total, Gottfried allowed four runs on seven hits in 7.2 frames, walking one and striking out six. Two of the four runs that scored came as a result of runners reaching base via bunt singles.

HPU attempted a comeback in the ninth with Jackson delivering an RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-2. After a pitching change, senior Jordan Sergent bounced into a game-ending double play to thwart the comeback attempt.

Four Panthers finished with multi-hit games, led by Jackson’s season-high four hits. Holt posted three knocks to record his fifth straight multi-hit game while Zente and freshman Tanner Wells provided two hits apiece. Despite 14 hits, High Point was held to less than four runs for just the second time in its last 18 games.

The Panthers and Runnin’ Bulldogs will wrap up the series with a doubleheader on Saturday due to forecasted inclement weather on Sunday. First pitch in the first game is set for 2 p.m. with the second game to follow 45 minutes after the conclusion.