HPU Baseball Panthers’ Eight Runs Fall Short In Elon Matchup

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Falling behind by an early deficit, High Point University baseball came within two runs of another comeback bid this Tuesday, falling to Elon by a final score of 10-8. Spotting the Phoenix nine runs in the opening four innings, HPU clawed its way back with an eight-run performance in the proceeding frames, out-hitting the visiting side 9-8.

“Our guys continued to play hard tonight,” said Head Coach Craig Cozart. “Right now we’re just trying to get ourselves right and play the best baseball that we can, and build momentum and quality play going into conference.”

Recording his second homer of the year, first baseman JJ Woodard sent a two-run shot to left to put the Panthers on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the fourth, driving in teammate Daniel Millwee in the process. After failing to hit a home run in their first four games, the Panthers have collected six long balls over their past six contests, with three coming off the bat of Millwee.

HPU added another pair of runs in the fifth after sophomore Travis Holt reached first on a bases loaded error from the Elon defense. The Phoenix tacked on their 10th run of the night in the following frame, before the Panthers drove in another two for a third straight inning, in the sixth.

Woodard grabbed his second hit of the night after legging out a double to right center, before a single from Sam Zayicek and back-to-back walks from Ryan Russell and Tanner Wells pushed the High Point infielder across home plate. Joe Johnson followed up with a groundout RBI to round out the scoring in the frame, as the Panthers moved within striking distance at 10-6.

Wells would reach home in the eighth for his team’s seventh run of the night, drawing his third walk of the evening on a six-pitch at bat. A Trent Harris single and another Phoenix error brought the Purple & White designated hitter home, before Zayicek’s ninth inning sac-fly wrapped up the Panthers’ night on offense.

With starter Muhammed Eid getting pulled in the fourth, the HPU coaching staff used seven different arms to put a close to Tuesday’s contest, as the Panther pen gave up a single unearned run over 5.1 IP. Freshmen Brady Pearre and Bryan Woelfel each made their debuts on the mound, while sophomore righty Jacob Winger tallied his third shutout appearance of 2019, with a perfect performance in the eighth.

“Yeah it’s about finding out what the depth of our bullpen is and what kind of components we have,” said Cozart. “I was encouraged to see some guys take advantage of some opportunities tonight.”

>> Every spot in the Panthers’ lineup reached first on the night, with DH Tanner Wells drawing a team-high three walks on the night
>> Daniel Millwee and JJ Woodard combined for five of their team’s nine knocks on the evening, as the former went 3-for-5 against the Elon pitching staff
>> Millwee, Woodard and Wells each scored a pair of runs for the Panthers, while Woodard’s two RBI went down as a team-high in the scorebook
>> The Panthers and the Phoenix combined for six HBP on the night, with Woodard and Conner Dunbar each getting plunked

The Panthers take the road once again, heading north for a three-game series against another CAA-foe, James Madison. The Panthers matched up with the Dukes for the first time in program history at the start of last year, falling in three closely-held contests at Williard.

“[James Madison] plays very well at home, with an ultra-aggressive offense.” said Cozart. “…It’s going to be a battle. That ball park plays lively, it plays small, so we’re going to have to pitch well and play clean defense and not give them extra opportunities.”