Deacons top Panthers in 14 innings
High Point University played the longest baseball game in its time as a NCAA Division I school on Tuesday night.
It proved to be an inning too long for the Panthers.
Wake Forest scored four runs in the top of the 14th inning and posted a 11-7 victory in the nonconference marathon that was the first time that the Panthers played a game more than 13 innings long at the D-I level. The final offensive surge came after HPU failed to score after loading the bases with one out in the 13th.
HPU (15-18) came back from giving up five runs and falling behind 7-4 in the sixth to force the extra play. The Panthers stranded two runners in the 12th before failing to take advantage of the golden opportunity in the 13th.
“There were two big innings that the bullpen gave up and there were all sorts of offensive execution situations that you could look at,” HPU coach Craig Cozart said. “I love the effort so while the loss is disappointing, I liked the way we went about our business.”
Wake (18-17) scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch tossed by losing pitcher Mike Krumm, and then added three more when Jack Carey cracked a three-run homer off Kyle Wigmore, who became the seventh HPU pitcher when he replaced Krumm with two runners on.
In six previous appearances this season, Wigmore had given up two earned runs.
“That was a complete letdown,” Cozart said. “Kyle has been good in those situations. Maybe he couldn’t have eliminated the scoring threat completely but you think he will minimize the scoring threat. You’ve got to tip your cap to their guy. He hit the ball a long ways.”
HPU got its chance to win in the 13th without a hit. Devin Bujnovsky got on when releif pitcher Niko Spezial couldn’t handle a toss from first baseman Charlie Morgan. Josh Spano walked, and after Spencer Angelis advanced the runner with a sacrifice bunt to third, the Deacons loaded the bases by intentionally walking Ryan Retz. Cozart called on pinch-hitter Dominic Fazio, who came into the game batting .389 and rapped into the rally-killing double play.
“It’s heartbreaking right there,” Coazrt said. “Obviously in that situation, you sell out and do what you have to do to get a ball in the air into the outfield. Dominic Fazio has been really good in that role. he’s a freshman but he is a special hitter. We got the worse result in that situation. They get a similar situation and hit the ball out of the park. that’s baseball.”
Wake pounded out 20 hits while HPU mustered 16.
Retz, who was the starting pitcher and was pulled off the mound in the fifth after giving up three runs, was the early hitting star, delivering RBI singles that scored Bujnovsky in the first and third to put the Panthers up 2-0.
Wake made it 2-2 in the fourth thanks to Kevin Jordan’s RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Brett Armour.
HPU regained the lead on Cody Manzella’s two-run double in the fourth.
The Panthers pitching then crumbled in the sixth as Wake notched five runs, four of them off reliever John Maloney, who got no one out before he was replaced. HPU got an RBI double from Spano in the sixth and tied the score at 7-7 on Willie Medina’s two-run single in the seventh.