• Junior Andrew Gottfried earned his fifth win of the campaign with five scoreless innings on the mound, lowering his season-long ERA to 3.34.
• Freshman Travis Holt tied his career highs with three hits and three RBI’s on the day while notching his first career triple
• Senior Rion Murrah secured his sixth save of the year with four spotless innings of relief.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – A superb pitching output buoyed by an early onslaught at the dish lifted the High Point University baseball team to a 6-0 victory over Presbyterian in the opening game of the final regular season series. HPU has now won four straight Big South games and is one win shy of tying the school record for Big South wins.
“It was nice to get out on the board early and score five runs in the first two innings,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We were really efficient on the mound and played errorless ball, which is a combination for a 6-0 shutout in game one. We were really solid today.”
High Point (29-21, 17-8) received a tremendous start from junior Andrew Gottfried in his final outing of the regular season. Gottfried (5-5) yielded a pair of singles in the first inning, but worked around it to keep the Blue Hose (15-37, 8-17) off the board.
From there, Gottfried retired eight straight and 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced. The righthander was economical in his outing, needing just 63 pitches to complete the five frames. Gottfried didn’t walk anyone and only struck out one, his final batter faced.
Senior Rion Murrah took over in the sixth inning and kept the strong pitching rolling by facing the minimum over his first three innings of work. Murrah pitched around a pair of baserunners in the ninth and earned his sixth save of the season in the process. Overall, he and Gottfried combined to retire 24 of the final 28 batters in the game. The duo combined to pitch High Point’s second shutout of the season and first since a 12-0 victory over Winthrop on March 30.
HPU gave Gottfried early support with five runs in the first two innings. Freshman Tanner Wells drove in the first run with a groundout in the first inning as the Panthers ultimately left the bags packed.
High Point added four runs in the second inning with the first five hitters reaching. Senior Austen Zente plated the first run with an RBI single to right field, and then scored along with junior Conner Dunbar on a two-run triple into the right field corner by freshman Travis Holt that put HPU on top 4-0. After a walk, Wells lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Holt and make it 5-0.
Holt was at it again in the sixth inning when he sliced his third hit of the day to center for an RBI single and a 6-0 lead. The freshman tied his career high in both hits and RBI’s going 3-for-5 with a triple, run scored, and three RBI. He and Zente, the top two hitters in the Panthers’ order, proved to be catalysts as the latter was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.
High Point and Presbyterian continue the series with the middle game on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. With inclement weather forecasted for the area, stay tuned to HighPointPanthers.com and @HighPointSports on Twitter for any game-time updates.