Panthers ground Eagles, 7-0
Ryan Retz likes to pitch as well as be a position player and hit for the High Point University baseball team because it gives him a chance to do well in one area if he is struggling in another.
“The good thing is if I have a bad at-bat then I can go out and pitch and vice versa,” Retz said. “If I have a bad inning on the mound, I can try to make up for at the plate.”
He didn’t struggle in any area on Wednesday.
Retz blasted a two-run homer in the first, lashed an RBI single in the fifth and threw a five-hit shutout as the Panthers stopped visiting North Carolina Central 7-0 at Williard stadium. With the victory, HPU rebounded from an 8-5 loss on Tuesday by handling a team that entered the game 23-17 and was coming off a win over Campbell. HPU improves to 19-20.
“He was kind of a one-man wrecking crew,” HPU coach Craig Cozart said of Retz. “He shouldered a lot of the load but a lot of the guys contributed around him.”
Retz drilled his homer to left as part of a four-run first inning in which he and Adam Barry hit back-to-back homers after Willie Medina and Spencer Angelis tripled off Central starter Jordan Quinn.
Medina led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly. Retz’s blast came with Angelis aboard. Barry followed with a shot off the scoreboard.
The back-to-back homers were the first for HPU since May of 2011. The display of power was uncharacteristic for a team that had just five homers coming into the game.
“When you take good swings, you are going to run into some balls from time to time,” Cozart said. “We’ve been taking some good swings for a couple of weeks now. It is nice to see the long ball. It does provide some emotional pickup.”
Quinn came into the game with a 1.86 ERA, a 5-1 record and 12 earned runs allowed in eight appearances. He left after five innings against HPU, having given up six runs, five of them unearned.
Barry said that despite Quinn’s impressive numbers, a scouting report indicated that he wasn’t an overpowering pitcher.”
“We had an approach coming into the game that we were going to sit back,” Barry said. “We knew that he throws mainly soft stuff. Our approach while he was in there was to wait until we got something elevated and make sure you sit back and drive it. And it worked. We bought in as a team and it worked.”
Retz and Barry said they feasted on fastballs up in the strike zone.
In the fifth, Retz produced a double that drove in Sean Wilson. HPU others runs came on Wilson’s RBI single in the second and a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Cody Manzella in the sixth.
Retz allowed an Eagle runner to get as far as third only once. That came in the sixth when Central put runners on third and first with one out. But the threat ended when Retz got Troy Morrow to hit a grounder to third that the Panthers turned into a double play.
“I had everything working,” Retz said. “My change-up was good. But mostly I was throwing two-seam fastballs, trying to get groundballs and letting my defense work.