HPU rallies in ninth to stun VMI, 6-4
BIG SOUTH BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
All games at Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.
Game 1: #2 Coastal Carolina vs. #7 Longwood, 9:30 a.m.
Game 2: #3 High Point vs. #6 Gardner-Webb, 45 minutes after conclusion of Game 1
Game 3: #1 Campbell vs. #8 Charleston Southern, 4:30 p.m.
Game 4: #4 Radford vs. #5 Liberty, 45 minutes after conclusion of Game 3
Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 9:30 a.m.
Game 6: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 45 minutes after conclusion of Game 5
Game 7: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4:30 p.m.
Game 8: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 45 minutes after conclusion of Game 7
Game 9: Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7, 3 p.m.
Game 10: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8, 45 minutes after conclusion of Game 9
Game 11: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9, 10 a.m.
Game 12: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 10, 45 minutes after conclusion of Game 11
Game 13: if necessary, 5 p.m.
Game 14: if necessary, 45 minutes after conclusion of Game 13
Championship Game, 4 p.m., ESPN3
The High Point University baseball team scored four times in the ninth inning to come from behind for a 6-4 win over VMI on Saturday afternoon in Lexington, Va. Sophomore Josh Spano knocked in the game-winning run to complete a four-hit day for HPU.
“I was really impressed with this team’s ability to fight back from an early deficit today,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “We saw that four-run first as an opportunity to do something great. I am proud of the way Retz battled for five innings after that four-run first. Jared Avidon was unbelievable, coming in and slamming the door. Our upperclassmen stepped up in the ninth. The middle of the order really came through and welcome back Josh Spano.”
High Point trailed 4-2 entering the ninth inning but loaded the bases with no outs on singles by sophomore Dane McDermott and seniors Willie Medina and Devin Bujnovsky. Retz hit the Panthers fourth straight single to drive in the first run and sophomore Spencer Angelis followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4.
With the score tied, Spano came to the plate and hit a single to center to drive in Bujnovsky as the go-ahead run, putting High Point ahead, 5-4. The Panthers added one more run on a groundout to first by graduate student Adam Barry, which scored Retz from third.
Senior Avidon earned his team-high sixth win of the season with four scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Avidon allowed just two walks while striking out six including the side in the ninth inning.
Spano finished 4 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Medina, Retz and McDermott all had two hits and a run scored in the win.
The victory over the Keydets completed a three-game sweep of VMI by the Panthers. HPU finished with three-straight road sweeps in Big South play.
High Point finishes the regular season with an overall record of 29-27. It is the Panthers’ second winning regular season in their Div. I history. HPU’s 15-9 record in Big South play is its best-ever record in the conference. High Point previously won 15 conference games in 2010 when the team finished 15-12. VMI finishes the season with an overall record of 20-35 and a record of 6-18 in the Big South.
The Panthers have earned the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Big South Championship, its highest-ever seed in the tournament. High Point’s previous high seed was a four seed which the Panthers achieved in 2006 and 2010.
“This is a special way for the team to end the season, clinching the best conference record in our Div. I history,” Cozart said. “It is appropriate that this happened with a core of guys we recruited four years ago. These guys deserve this; they fought through a lot of adversity this season. By no means is this season over. We plan to make a run in the conference tournament.”
High Point will take on No. 6 Gardner-Webb in the first round of the Big South Championship. The Panthers took two of three games at home against GWU during the regular season.
HPU TRACK QUALIFIES FIVE FOR NCAA PRELIMINARY ROUND
The High Point University men’s and women’s track & field teams will send five athletes to the NCAA Preliminary Championship May 24-25 at North Carolina A&T. Senior Dakota Peachee is HPU’s top-ranked qualifier at fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
On the women’s side, freshman Christine Rickert qualified for the NCAA Preliminary in the javelin, where she is ranked 16th. She set an HPU record of 47.78 meters (156-9) earlier this season.
Peachee and freshman Benji Szalai both qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Peachee is ranked fifth with his HPU-record time of 8:46.69 and is making his third appearance in the NCAA Preliminary. Szalai is ranked 18th with his season-best time of 8:55.16.
Junior Evan Emery makes his second appearance in the NCAA Preliminary and is ranked 23rd in the 200-meter with his season-best and HPU-record time of 20.84 from the Big South Championship.
Sophomore Christian Spaulding makes his second appearance in as many opportunities in the javelin. He is ranked 26th with his HPU-record throw of 66.65 meters (218-8).
Here’s a rundown of events and times HPU athletes will be competing:
Friday, May 24
2:00 p.m.: Men’s Javelin - Christian Spaulding
8:25 p.m.: Men’s 200M First Round - Evan Emery
9:30 p.m.: Men’s 3,000M Steeplechase - Dakota Peachee, Benji Szalai
Saturday, May 25
2:00 p.m.: Women’s Javelin - Christine Rickert
7:50 p.m.: Men’s 200M Quarterfinal - Evan Emery
The top 12 finishers in each event at the NCAA Preliminary advance to the NCAA Final, which will be held June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.