Slow Start Costs HPU Baseball Panthers in Series Opener with PC

Site: High Point, N.C. (Williard Stadium)
Score: Presbyterian 11, High Point 4
W: Brandon Williams (2-1), L: Grey Lyttle (4-6)
Records: PC 15-20 (14-15 Big South), HPU 14-26 (12-20 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Saturday, May 15 — vs. Presbyterian (DH) (Williard Stadium, High Point, N.C.), 2 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team fell 11-4 in the opening game of a three-game set with Presbyterian College Friday evening (May 14).

The Blue Hose struck early and often in the first half of the game, scoring the opening nine runs of the contest.

Peyton Carr, Adam Stuart, and Jackson Melton all ended the night with two hits each while Carr and Melton each added an RBI, as did Joe Johnson. Carr’s RBI came on a solo homer to left for his sixth long ball of the campaign, tying him with Johnson for the most among the Purple and White. Carr and Johnson are the only two Panthers with active hitting streaks of five or more at the moment as the two hits extend Carr’s streak to nine, tying him with Cameron Irvine for the longest hitting streak any HPU player has had all season. Johnson also picked up a hit to make it seven straight for the graduate student, one away from matching his season-high of eight games with a hit to start the season.

High Point’s middle relievers were effective throughout the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings as Sam Garcia, Sean Duffy, and Ohjiro Motoki combined for six strikeouts while throwing an inning each. Garcia struck out the side in the fifth and Duffy notched two Ks in the sixth while Motoki added one in the seventh as part of 10 strikeouts by the High Point pitching staff for the eighth double-digit strikeout game of the season for the Purple and White. The only baserunner allowed by the trio was a walk from Motoki to the only batter he faced in the eighth inning.

Presbyterian got things started with a home run on the second pitch of the game for the early lead that it never lost. High Point had a chance to answer the home run in the first inning with some runs in the bottom of the stanza, but, despite rattling off three hits, couldn’t bring anyone around. A lineout into a double play put the first two outs on the board and then a delayed double steal attempt saw Carr thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

PC added to its lead two innings later with a three-run shot over the wall in left-center in the third to make it 4-0. The Blue Hose tacked on one more in the third on a single up the gut that brought home an unearned run as the runner reached on an error earlier in the inning. Presbyterian put up another four-spot in the next inning after loading the bases and bringing runs home on a hit batter, sac fly, throwing error on a steal attempt, and a wild pitch to lead 9-0 midway through the fourth.

The Panthers finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Carr took a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left for his sixth home run of the season. HPU had a pair of runners in scoring position later in the frame but a fly ball to straight-away center ended the inning before more damage could be done. It took until the seventh inning for another run to touch home for either side and it was HPU getting two more in the bottom of the seventh.

Brady Pearre reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second when Travis Holt drew a four-pitch walk. Both runners advanced two bases when Melton singled with a liner to center to score Pearre. Holt came home one batter later when Johnson flied out to left for the sac-fly RBI to make it 9-3. PC scored one more in each of the final two innings, getting one in the eighth on a passed ball and one in the ninth on an RBI double to get into double digits. HPU only mustered one in the bottom of the last when Pearre scored from second after the Presbyterian shortstop booted a ball into left field before ending the game with a double play and a strikeout.

High Point and PC will play two games tomorrow (May 15) in the final two games of the season at Williard Stadium. Game one of the doubleheader is slated to start at 2 p.m., with game two following approximately 45 minutes after the first game ends.