High Point Baseball Drops Series Opener with Radford

Site: High Point, N.C. (Williard Stadium)
Score: Radford 3, High Point 1
W: Derek Domecq (1-0), L: Grey Lyttle (1-3), S: Alex Perkins (2)
Records: RU 5-7 (1-3 Big South), HPU 5-5 (3-1 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, March 13 — vs. Radford (DH) (Williard Stadium, High Point, N.C.), 1 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team lost a Big South Conference game for the first time this season with a 3-1 defeat to Radford University on Friday afternoon (March 12).

High Point was outhit by the Highlanders by one, 7-6, just the second time this season that the Purple and White have failed to record more hits than their opponent.

The Panthers were in it until the end, with the tying run striking out twice to end the game. It continues HPU’s streak of close losses, with the Purple and White having the tying run on base or at the plate in all five losses this season, never falling by more than two.

High Point starter Grey Lyttle had a strong day on the bump, going 7.0 innings with just one earned run on five hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts. It’s the third quality start of the season for Lyttle, despite having a 1-3 record. Lyttle’s eight Ks give him 32 on the season, tied for the most in the Big South with USC Upstate’s Jordan Marks, despite Lyttle throwing two fewer innings than Marks.

Both teams kept the hits off the board almost through three innings before Adam Stuart singled down the line in left to break the hitless affair. Radford got its first hit of the game an inning later, an RBI since to center to break the scoreless tie. A two-out walk put Radford’s first baserunner on, who took second on a passed ball. That proved to be costly as a shallow single to center was just enough to plate him before the throw came home.

High Point looked like it might answer in the bottom of the fourth when the Panthers had runners on second and third with only one out. The bases were then loaded not long after thanks to a two-out walk, but a second strikeout in the inning left them loaded for HPU, three of nine runners stranded in the game.

Radford doubled its lead and score in the next inning, taking advantage of a pair of Panther errors. A one-out error put a runner on, who made it to third on a bad pickoff attempt to first by the catcher after a pitchout. The runner came around to score on the next at bat with a sac fly. The Highlanders added to their lead again in the seventh, bringing a run around on a wild pitch, once again with two outs.

HPU finally broke through in the seventh, when Ryan Russell crossed the plate. He pinch hit to lead off the inning and promptly doubled to center. Cole Singsank was hit by a pitch after that and Russell took third on a fly ball to right, putting runners on the corners with one out. High Point sent Singsank to second to try and draw a throw from the catcher to plate Russell and that’s exactly what happened, with Russell sliding in safely before the return throw arrived.

The Panthers loaded the bases with two outs once again in the eighth, with a base hit likely scoring two runs to tie it up. Joe Johnson drew a one-out walk to get the first runner on, one of three walks the graduate student drew in the contest. Cameron Irvine singled to left to put two on with two outs and Johnson moved to third on a wild pitch. Irvine also advanced shortly after, moving to second when Peyton Carr walked. Once again, the Purple and White couldn’t get timely hitting, grounding out to first to leave them loaded for the second time on the day and end the Panthers’ comeback attempt.

HPU had another chance to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth after Singsank ripped a leadoff double down the line in left but he stayed on second until the end, with three straight outs, the final two of which were strikeouts, giving Radford the win.

High Pont can still take the series to remain above .500 in conference play when the two teams meet tomorrow (March 13) at Williard Stadium for a doubleheader. The first game is slated to begin at 1 p.m., with game two starting approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of game one.