CLINTON, S.C. – An early disadvantage led to a 6-1 defeat for High Point University baseball this Thursday, falling to Presbyterian in game one of this weekend’s three-game series.
“The difference was that we put runners on free and [Presbyterian] got hits with runners on base,” said Head Coach Craig Cozart. “We didn’t get hits with runners on base. Seven of their 10 hits came with runners on, one of our seven hits came with runners on. We set another bad tone in the first two innings on the mound and put them on base free. Three of the five runs scored in the first two innings reached base on a free pass, but they got hits when guys were on base and we didn’t.”
Senior Daniel Millwee collected his team’s first knock of the day in the opening frame, with a two-out single to right field, followed by a Joe Johnson hit up the middle to put a pair on. Both runners would be stranded however, as the home team responded with three runs in the bottom half.
Presbyterian would go up 5-0 in the first two innings before junior Ryan Russell opened up HPU’s scoring at the top of the fourth. Getting ahead 2-0 in the count, Russell smashed his second homer of the year to lead off the inning, putting the Panthers on the board with a shot to left field.
Johnson gathered his second hit of the day during the fifth, before the Blue Hose pulled ahead by a count of 6-1 in the bottom frame. Senior Conner Dunbar reached on three of his four plate appearances on the afternoon, after bunting for a single in the sixth, however the Panthers would go hitless in their final three frames at the plate, as the final score read 6-1.
“Honestly, we just have to play with more hardness,” said Cozart. “That’s what it comes down to. Playing the game, all the way around, with more hardness, more toughness.”
>> Millwee’s single in the first extended the senior backstop’s on base streak to 22 straight appearances, he’s reached first in all but a single game in 2019
>> With his 2-for-3 afternoon, Dunbar has collected multiple hits in three of his last five games played. He’s slashed .529/.579/.882 during that period
>> Freshmen Evan Bergman and Sam Zayicek both tallied defensive assists from the outfield on Thursday, with the latter throwing out runners in both the second and eighth innings
>> KJ Wells and Garrett Letchworth combined for three shutout innings to close out game one. Wells struck out a pair while holding the Blue Hose to a single hit, while Letchworth tallied a K in the eighth
>> Bergman’s single in the third keeps the freshman’s hitting streak alive at four straight games, while Millwee is riding a six-game hitting streak after Thursday