Panthers smoke flames, 9-3
High Point University baseball coach Craig Cozart has been waiting for one of his hitters to come up with a big blow in a crucial situation.
Spencer Angelis came through on Saturday, slashing a two-run, two-strike double that helped pave the way for the Panthers to score eight runs in the fifth inning on the way to crushing Liberty 9-3 on Saturday,
“He had an awesome at bat, fighting off two-strike pitches and then doubling down the line,” Cozart said. “That’s the hit we’ve been looking for quite a while. For the guys continue to stack thins together and give us a cushion was awesome.”
Angelis gave the Panthers the lead for good at 4-3 but was far from being the only big contributor as HPU sent 13 batters to plate and came up with their biggest offensive inning of the season.
Adam Berry stroked two hits and drove in three runs with a one-run double and two-run single. Ryan Retz lashed a two-run single to right, then scored on Devin Bujnovsky’s single by knocking the ball free in a play at the plate.
Angelis’s hit was the end for Liberty starter Trey Lambert, who gave up seven runs on six hits and took his first loss of the season after coming into the game 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA.
“We needed it as a team and I felt I was the guy who could do it,” Angelis said. “He threw some good pitches, and I kept fouling them off. Sometimes the ball rolls your way.
“He had some good stuff. He started off with a cutter and got me out front. He came in high and tight with a fast ball and I jumped on it and drove it down the line.”
Kyle McKelvey relieved Lambert and gave up the hits to Retz and Bunjunovsky and a walk to Sly Edwards before being replaced by Robert Gray. Barry, who began the rally with a double off Lambert, then delivered his two-run single.
Jared Avidon got the win, giving up three runs and three hits in five innings. John Maloney held the Flames (15-9, 4-2) to two hits the rest of the way.
With the victory, High Point (12-12) continued efforts to scratch its way out of the basement of the Big South’s North division, improving to 2-4 by going 2-1 against the first-place Flames. The Panthers are a game behind VMI and Longwood, who are tied for fourth at 3-3. Liberty fell into a tie for first with Campbell.
“We are methodically getting better as we approach the middle of the season,” Cozart said after the Panthers got their fourth win in six games.”