High Point Baseball Drops Season-Opening Pitching Duel

Site: High Point, N.C. (Truist Point)
Score: Bryant 2, High Point 0
W: Tyler Mattison (1-0), L: Grey Lyttle (0-1)
Records: BRY 1-0, HPU 0-1
Next HPU Event: Saturday, Feb. 20 — vs. Bryant (Williard Stadium, High Point, N.C.), 2 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team suffered a setback in its opening game of the 2021 season, falling to Bryant University 2-0 at Truist Point Friday afternoon (Feb. 19).

The game was a pitcher’s duel throughout, with the teams combining for just six hits in the game. Graduate student Grey Lyttle made the start on the bump for the Purple and White and picked up a quality start by only allowing one run on three hits in six innings of work. Lyttle ended with seven strikeouts and no walks on the day, matching his career-high in strikeouts.

“It ended up being a beautiful day on opening day. We appreciate the Rockers for hosting us – it’s an awesome facility with a great atmosphere,” head coach Craig Cozart said after the game. It was really great baseball for the first game of the year. I have to give Bryant credit. They had a couple of offensive situations in the middle of the game that they executed well to push a couple of runs across. We just weren’t able to manufacture anything today. Grey was tremendous on the mound in the start and Carter Sheppard came in and gave us a chance at the end but we just couldn’t get it done. We’ll get back after it tomorrow. We’re still in a position to win the series and that’s what we’ll come out tomorrow with our objective being.”

Sheppard came on in relief of Lyttle in the seventh inning and gave up one unearned run on one hit with two strikeouts in the final three innings of the day.

High Point only had two hits on the day, both coming off Bryant’s starter and pitcher of record, Tyler Mattison. The Bulldogs were the first team to put a runner on the basepaths when they had the first hit of the game with a single to start the second inning. The runner was stranded at first after two Lyttle strikeouts in the inning and the bases stayed empty until Blake Sutton singled to left to lead off the third for the Panthers.

HPU couldn’t advance Sutton into scoring position as he was retired in the next at bat after a double play on a hit-and-run. The Purple and White’s only other hit came in the next inning when Joe Johnson singled to right with one out in the fourth but once again couldn’t get around to scoring position before the inning was over.

Bryant broke the scoreless tie in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double down the left-field line. The runner took third on an infield bunt-single and then came around to score on a sac fly on the next at bat. The Bulldogs got another runner to third on a wild pitch with two outs but Lyttle got a swing-and-a-miss for his seventh and final strikeout of the day to end the threat and get out of the inning.

High Point got a little bit of momentum going in the third when Travis Holt drew a one-out walk in the seventh and then stole second to be HPU’s first runner in scoring position this season. Holt made it to third when Sam Zayicek grounded out to first but another groundout to first ended the Panthers’ attempt to tie the game before Holt could come around to score.

Bryant added an insurance run in the next half inning, taking advantage of a High Point error in the first at bat of the eighth. The runner stole second and then took third on a single to center, coming around to score on another sac fly one batter later.

High Point and Bryant will play each other two more times this weekend, both taking place on the campus of High Point University at Williard Stadium. The teams play tomorrow (Feb. 20) at 2 p.m. and conclude the series on Sunday (Feb. 21), with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.