High Point University Baseball’s Offense Stymied by JMU

Site: High Point, N.C. (Williard Stadium)
Score: James Madison 9, High Point 1
W: Justin Showalter (4-0), L: Trent Harris (0-2)
Records: JMU 8-5, HPU 6-8
Next HPU Event: Sunday, March 8 — vs. James Madison (Williard Stadium, High Point, N.C.), 1 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team fell level with James Madison University in the weekend series on Saturday (March 7) with a 9-1 loss to the Dukes. Sophomore Sam Zayicek had two hits in the game for half of HPU’s team total of four and drove in the Panthers’ only run.

“Showalter for JMU was really, really, good,” head coach Craig Cozart said of the Dukes’ starter. “We had a hard time getting anything going against him. We were in a position to make a run at it in the later innings but unfortunately, our bullpen wasn’t very good today. We’ve got to figure out a way to come out tomorrow and secure the series and make this a quality weekend.”

James Madison scored in the first inning for the second game in a row with a pair of singles and a walk. High Point starter Trent Harris settled down and was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam with one out, picking up two strikeouts in the process.

The Panthers put a runner in scoring position in each of the first two innings but couldn’t string together enough plays to bring them around to score. Joe Johnson sent the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single in the first before stealing second but couldn’t advance further and Zayicek made it on base in the second thanks to an error by the JMU pitcher. Zayicek stole second and made it to third on a groundout to short but couldn’t make it the final 90 feet to score.

Each team only sent three batters to the plate in the third but the Dukes added one more run in the fourth. A two-out single with runners on first and second plated one run and put runners on the corners but Harris induced a grounded to second to stop JMU from adding any more. James Madison added two more in the sixth, scoring on a single to center and a safety squeeze, ending Harris’s day.

High Point scored its lone run of the day in the bottom half of the sixth when Zayicek picked up his second hit of the game. Casey Haire came in to pinch hit for the Panthers and doubled to the gap in left with two outs for his first career hit. Zayicek was the next man up and scored Haire with an RBI-single through the right side of the infield. HPU’s two-out rally ended shortly after when Zayicek was thrown out trying to swipe second for the second time in the game.

JMU’s offense took over in the final third of the game, hitting a home run in each of the final three innings to seal the deal. The Dukes hit a two-run shot to left in the seventh to get the run back and followed that up with a solo homer to left in the eight and another solo home run, this time to right, in the ninth to end the game with a 9-1 victory.

The two teams will battle for the series tomorrow (March 8) at Williard Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. After the Dukes, HPU will host UNCG on Tuesday (March 10) and then USC Upstate for the first Big South series of the year next weekend (March 13-15).