HPU Baseball Offense Comes Alive Late in Charleston

Site: Charleston, S.C. (CSU Ballpark)
Score: High Point 10, Charleston Southern 5
W: Grey Lyttle (3-3), L: John Sendziak (0-1), S: Carter Sheppard (2)
Records: HPU 9-12 (7-8 Big South), CSU 7-11 (7-8 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Friday, April 2 — at Charleston Southern (DH) (Charleston, S.C.), 1 p.m.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Behind a five-run ninth inning, the High Point University baseball team picked up a 10-5 win over Charleston Southern on Thursday evening (April 1) in the opening game of a three-game set between the teams.

It’s the third time this season the Panthers have scored double-digit runs in a game, with the other two coming in the series sweep of UNC Asheville. HPU also had its third-most hits in a game this season in Thursday’s win, racking up 12 of them on the Buccaneers’ pitching staff. Brady Pearre was on fire at the plate, going 4-4 with two walks and two RBIs, including a solo home run in the first to open the scoring.

Grey Lyttle was on the bump to start for the Purple and White and picked up his third win of the season to improve to 3-3 on the year. He gave up four of CSU’s five runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts on a career-high 115 pitches over six innings of work. Carter Sheppard relieved him and was charged with the final run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts over the final three innings to earn his second save of the season.

Pearre got the party started three batters into the game, taking the 2-2 pitch over the wall in left-center with two outs. High Point put another runner in scoring position in the inning shortly after when Cole Singsank picked up a single and stole second but was stranded there on a strikeout.

Lyttle threw two hitless innings to start the game before giving up a double in the third that advanced to third on a wild pitch and came around to score on a groundout to first. Charleston Southern took the lead one inning later when a single with the bases loaded brought home two, making it 3-1 Buccaneers.

High Point got one back in the fifth when Joe Johnson was able to bring home Ryan Russell. Russell reached on an error by the second baseman and took second when Travis Holt laid down a sac bunt to the pitcher. That was enough to get Russell home when Johnson ripped one up the middle to make it 3-2. The Panthers loaded the bases with one out in the inning after that but Johnson was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch and the other two runners were left in scoring position on a flyout to center.

HPU tied things up in the sixth, bringing around a run on a groundout to third. Blake Sutton singled up the middle with one out and made it to third when Adam Stuart put one into left-center. Stuart took second on defensive indifference and Sutton came home when Russell had an RBI groundout to third. Stuart advanced to third on the play but once again the Purple and White left a runner in scoring position to a fly ball to the centerfielder.

The score didn’t stay tied for long as Charleston Southern retook the lead in the bottom half of the sixth. The leadoff batter walked and then stole second before making it to third on a wild pitch with one out. Lyttle’s second strikeout of the inning put him one out away from getting out of the frame tied but a single up the middle brought home the go-ahead run before he notched his third strikeout of the inning and sixth of the day.

High Point immediately answered in the top of the seventh with two runs to take the lead and put Lyttle in line for the win. Johnson drew a leadoff walk and made it to third when Pearre singled through the right side of the infield. Johnson came around to score when the shortstop bobbled a ball hit by Singsank and Pearre came home to give the Panthers the lead on a groundout to short.

Sheppard came on in relief and gave up one hit in each the seventh and eight while picking up three strikeouts over the two innings to keep the 5-4 lead intact heading into the ninth. The floodgates opened for the Panthers in the top of the last as HPU scored five runs to take a commanding lead in the game.

Pearre started things with a bunt single and then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Singsank walked and Justin Ebert picked up High Point’s second bunt single of the inning to load the bases. Sutton drew an RBI walk to move everyone up 90 feet before Stuart picked up the first out of the inning with a sac fly to right that scored Singsank and moved Ebert to third.

Trevor Omahen entered the game as a pinch runner for Ebert at third and came home on a wild pitch that allowed Sutton to move to second. Sam Zayicek was then hit by a pitch and Holt drew a walk to load the bases once more. A popup to second put two outs on the board but Peyton Carr and Pearre drew back-to-back walks with the bases loaded on a total of nine pitches to make it 10-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Charleston Southern was able to bring one run around off a pair of singles and a wild pitch but consecutive strikeouts from Sheppard ended the game and gave High Point the series opener.

HPU will look for its first weekend-series victory since sweeping UNC Asheville in the opening weekend of conference play when the Panthers and Buccaneers play a doubleheader on Friday (April 2). The first game is slated to begin at 1 p.m. with the second game beginning approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first.