• High Point clinched its fifth consecutive winning season with an 8-4 victory at Asheville, and tallied its 16th conference win for just the second time in program history.
• Senior Jordan Sergent blasted his fourth and fifth home runs of the year to register his first career multi-homer game.
• Redshirt-sophomore Harrison Smith secured his first career win with a career-long five innings pitched.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team earned its second sweep of the Big South season with an 8-4 triumph over UNC Asheville on Sunday afternoon at Greenwood Field. HPU has tied a season-best with four straight wins.
“Anytime you go on the road and sweep, it’s pretty difficult,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “Tip of the cap to Harrison Smith – his tremendous start put us in a great position. The top of the lineup with Austen Zente and Travis Holt set the table and Jordan Sergent)had two big home runs.
“The guys got it done so I’m happy with the weekend.”
The Panthers (28-20, 16-8) became just the second team in program history to win 16 Big South games, joining the 2014 squad that finished 18-9 in conference play. HPU also locked up its fifth-straight winning season, a streak that is only surpassed in program history by 15 straight winning years from 1969-1983.
High Point was able to secure the series sweep from Asheville (12-36, 7-17) thanks to causing chaos on the bases early. The Panthers tied a season-high with four stolen bases, including three from senior Austen Zente, and took advantage of six wild pitches.
Zente led off the game with a single, stole second, moved to third on a base knock from freshman Travis Holt, and sprinted home with his second swipe of the inning as part of a double steal with Holt to make it 1-0.
HPU added to its lead in the third when senior Carson Jackson singled and ultimately scored on a wild pitch to stretch the lead to 2-0. Jackson drove in a run the conventional way with an RBI double in the top of the fifth to put the Panthers up 3-0.
The Bulldogs were held in check for the first four innings by redshirt-sophomore Harrison Smith, who retired 11 straight after allowing the first two batters he faced to reach. Smith (1-4) yielded a run in the home half of the fifth on a sac fly, but stranded a runner in scoring position to keep HPU on top 3-1.
Smith tossed a career-high five innings en route to his first career win in the Purple & White. He gave up a run on three this while striking out five without a walk.
Asheville got a run closer in the home half of the sixth via a one-out triple, but sophomore Grey Lyttle was able to escape the jam with a strikeout and a flyout.
High Point then responded with five runs over the final three innings to pull away. Senior Jordan Sergent led the charge with solo home runs in the seventh and ninth for his first career multi-dinger game.
Sergent’s second straight three-hit game was one of three such performances for HPU as Zente and Holt each collected RBI knocks in the ninth to post three-hit days. Five Panthers tallied multi-hit games in total with Jackson and redshirt-junior Daniel Millwee contributing two hits each.
Asheville made things interesting with a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth, but Senior Rion Murrah came on to get the final out and secure his fifth save of the campaign.
The Panthers will look to extend their winning streak to a season-best five games when they travel across the Triad to take on Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Tuesday. The finale of the eight-game road trip is set for 6 p.m.