Site: High Point, N.C. (Williard Stadium)
Records: UPST 33-10 (24-9 Big South), HPU 14-24 (12-18 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Tuesday, May 11 — at Longwood (Farmville, Va.), 6 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team lost both games of a doubleheader with USC Upstate on Saturday (May 8) to be swept in the weekend series. Upstate took the first game of the day 12-9 and won the second game 10-5 despite the teams each putting up 13 hits in the nightcap.
Travis Holt was the only Panther with multiple hits in both games with a total of four on the day and had a home run in each contest to give him one in all three games of the weekend. Holt is the first High Point player to hit home runs in three consecutive games since Blake Schunk did so from April 3-7 in 2018 and he’s the first member of the Purple and White to leave the park in every game of a three-game series since Mark Shorey went yard in every game of a weekend series against Radford in 2006.
Jackson Melton also homered in the first game, sending a no-doubter across the creek and over the Greenway for his first career home run, giving High Point a total of three players with their first career home run over the weekend after Cameron Irvine and Blake Sutton each notched their first on Friday. Brady Pearre also hit one in the second game of the day to give HPU multiple home runs in every game this weekend and bring the season total up to eight such games – the most multi-homer games in a season for the Purple and White since having 14 of them in 2018.
A trio of Panthers ended the day with three hits as Joe Johnson and Peyton Carr had two in one game and one in the other while Sutton had three hits in the nightcap for his second three-hit game of the season.
Despite making four errors in the second game, High Point’s defense matched a program record by turning five double plays in the contest. The Panthers ended the first, second, fourth, seventh, and ninth innings with twin killings to record five double plays for the second time in program history. The only other time that happened was over a decade ago when HPU turned five at Presbyterian in a 7-4 victory on May 14, 2010.
Game One Score: USC Upstate 12, High Point 9
W: Alex Garbrick (7-2), L: Teddy Merritt (1-1), S: Kevin Davis (8)
Upstate went down in order in the first inning but broke the game wide open in the second with a seven-run inning. Six of the seven runs came with two outs on the board as the Spartans loaded the bases two separate times and cleared them once with a double to the wall in right-center.
High Point got two of the runs back in the bottom of the inning when Holt singled to right to score Irvine after he and Pearre drew back-to-back walks to start the frame. Pearre scored in the next at bat on a passed ball to get the Panthers their second run of the day. Upstate countered those two with two of its own in the fourth when an errant throw to first from third with the bases loaded and two outs brought in a pair.
The Panthers took advantage of a Spartan error in the fourth when Sutton grounded out to first to bring home Irvine but the visitors reached double digits in the top of the fifth with two more to make it 11-3. Melton led off the bottom of the fifth for the Purple and White and took the first pitch he saw well over the fence in left for his home run. Johnson was up next and singled up the middle before advancing to second on a wild pitch and eventually scoring when Cole Singsank hit one to the corner in left to put the score at 11-5.
Upstate extended its lead back up to seven with a run in the top of the seventh before HPU scored four in the eighth. Irvine doubled down the line in left to start the inning and moved up to third when Ryan Russell reached on an error. That brought up Justin Wilkins, who sent one into center field that was deep enough to bring home Irvine for the third time in the game. Holt was the next batter up and belted the 1-0 pitch over the wall in left to make it a four-run affair.
Johnson had his second base hit of the day two batters later with two outs and moved up to second on another wild pitch before scoring when Carr reached on an infield single. The Spartan second baseman made a great diving play to stop the ball from reaching the outfield but was slow getting the throw to first to give Carr a single. Johnson was sent home as there were two outs and second baseman still made the throw to first, which proved to be a little wild. Johnson was already well on his way home when the throw went by the bag at first and cruised to the plate to cut the deficit to three. That was as close as the Panthers came, as they only mustered a walk by Russell in the bottom of the ninth to drop the first game of the day 12-9.
Game Two Score: USC Upstate 10, High Point 5
W: Austin Morgan (3-1), L: David Keith (1-2)
Upstate opened the scoring again in game two, getting a pair of runs across in the opening frame by taking advantage of an error and wild pitch to move runners into scoring position for the runs before High Point had its first double play of the game. The Spartan batter flied out to right with runners on first and second and the runner on first though his teammate was tagging to move to third. That was not the case as the runner on second stayed put and forced the runner on first to retreat, where he was tagged out after a good throw in from right by Pearre.
A 6-3 double play ended the second for Upstate after just nine pitches and High Point cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the inning. Holt stepped up with two outs and hit his second long ball of the day and third of the series to match Shorey’s feat from 15 years ago to make it 2-1. The Spartans went down in order in the third but scored four in the fourth to extend the lead before HPU’s third double play of the game, this one of the 6-4-3 variety, got the Panthers out of the inning.
Upstate’s only double play of the game put two outs on the board early in the fourth but Pearre extended the inning with his fifth home run of the season after he took the first pitch he saw over the wall in left to make it 6-2. It remained that way until the fifth when High Point added another run and pulled within three. Melton reached on a throwing error by the first baseman before moving up to second when Johnson grounded out with a high and deep chopper to short. Getting Melton into scoring position proved to be key as Carr singled to left to score Melton and add another run.
The Spartans got the run back and added an extra one in the sixth when a single got past an encroaching infield trying to guard against the bunt and scored two. Another two scored in the eighth after an error on a throw to the plate and a wild pitch moved runners up. Before the eighth, High Point picked up its fourth double play of the game with another 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and matched the program record in the ninth when Adam Stuart fielded one up the middle and stepped on second before throwing over to first to get to the bottom of the inning.
HPU scored two in the ninth with two outs to try and start a late rally but it ended with the pair. Runners were at the corners with two outs after a fielder’s choice got Holt at second in an attempt at a double play and Carr singled in the next at bat to bring home Sutton. Singsank was up next and doubled to left to score Johnson but a hard-hit ball to the left fielder by the next batter ended the game at 10-5 for the Spartan sweep.
High Point has its final midweek game of the season on Tuesday (May 11) when the Panthers travel up to Farmville, Va. for a 6 p.m. matchup with Longwood before returning home next weekend (May 14-15) to host Presbyterian in the final home series of the year.