Duke baseball trips HPU, 5-4
The High Point University baseball team fell to Duke 5-4 on the road in the first game of a home-and-home midweek series on Tuesday night. HPU senior Ryan Retz went 2 for 4 with one RBI and one run scored.
“We tried to make a run at it late and it just didn’t turn out for us tonight,” head coach Craig Cozart said. “It was a little disappointing to be backwards on our strikeout-to-walk ration on the mound, I think that is what beat us. Now we have to get ready to go tomorrow. Our guys are pretty fatigued right now, but that is when we have to reach down and find another level so we can figure out a way to get a win tomorrow heading into exams.”
The loss ends a four-game winning streak for HPU which falls to 22-21 on the season. Duke improves to 23-20 with the win.
High Point took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second, scoring a run without registering a hit. Sophomore Spencer Angelis led off the inning with a chopper to third which the Blue Devils’ third baseman sailed over the head of the first baseman allowing Angelis to reach second. The sophomore moved to third on a groundout by Retz then came home on a hard grounder up the middle by senior Scott Glover.
The Blue Devils moved in front with three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Duke scored all three runs with two outs as Jeff Kremer, Jordan Betts and Chris Marconcini all picked up RBI singles.
The Panthers cut the two-run deficit in half in the top of the seventh inning, pushing across one run to make the score 3-2. Retz singled on a slow grounder to third and moved to third on a one-out single by sophomore Cody Manzella. On the second pitch to graduate student Adam Barry, Duke starter Michael Matuella bounced the ball past the catcher allowing Retz to score on a wild pitch.
One inning later, High Point scored two twice to jump back ahead by a score of 4-3. Senior Devin Bujnovsky reached with a one-out double when his fly ball was lost in the lights and dropped between the Duke left fielder and center fielder. Sophomore Stephen Wytiaz followed with a double down the line to score McDermott, tying the game at 3-3, then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Retz.
Duke took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth, scoring twice to go up 5-4. A leadoff walk and a double by Marconcini tied the game at 4-4 and a single by Kenny Koplove scored Marconi for the winning run.
Wytiaz finished 1-1 with an RBI and a run scored after entering the game late as a defensive replacement. Manzella and McDermott each finished with RBIs for the Panthers while Bujnovsky and Angelis both scored a run.
Senior Zach Haile was charged with the loss for High Point after allowing two runs in 1-1/3 inning of work out of the bullpen.
Duke’s Andrew Istler pitched the final two innings to pick up the win. Istler allowed two runs on four hits while striking out two.
High Point will play its fifth game in as many days on Wednesday when it returns home to wrap up its home-and-home series against the Blue Devils. First pitch at Williard Stadium is set for 6 p.m.
HPU’S WILSON, TYE EARN BIG SOUTH HONORS
NINETY SIX, S.C. — High Point University senior Chase Wilson was named to the All-Big South team and freshman McKay Tye was named to the All-Freshman team at the Big South Men’s Golf Championship on Tuesday at the Patriot Golf Club. The Panthers finished ninth in the tournament.
High Point posted a three-round total of 942 (313-305-312) to place ninth. Coastal Carolina scored 881 to win by two strokes over Liberty (883). Liberty’s Mathieu Fenasse was the individual winner with a score of 211 (75-70-66).
The Panthers’ top finisher was sophomore Charles Valluzo, who posted a three-round total of 228 (76-74-78) to finish in a tie for 17th. Wilson and freshman Tommy Dillon each scored 232 to finish tied with two others for 31st. Wilson entered the last hole at -1 before posting a 76 on Tuesday.
“Chase had a great career here and he was very much responsible for the maturity of our younger players this season,” said HPU head coach Greg Flesher. “With his attitude and work ethic, he can’t be replaced. He had three wins this year and had a great round going today until he ran into difficulties on the last hole. We’ll sure miss him next year.”
Dillon’s notched his 232 with a 79 in the first round, 76 in the second and 77 in the third. Tye tied for 41st with a three-day total of 238 (79-78-81) and senior Brian Sullivan tied for 47th with a score of 253 (83-84-86).
“I think we’re in very good position to move forward with players like McKay Tye and Tommy Dillon returning along with the recruits we’re going to bring in,” said Flesher, who is in his first season at HPU. “Tommy has taken his game to the next level. He really improved this year. McKay has shown moments of being great. He has improved his fundamentals and will continue to improve.
“The best thing about this year is that we created an atmosphere of expectations. We expect to be successful every round. We’ve had great practice sessions and it didn’t always come through in the tournaments this year, but the environment we’ve created is that we expect to win.”
Back in the fall, High Point won the Joe Agee invitational at William & Mary with a score of 861, which was the team’s best three-round total of the season. The Panthers also posted top-five finishes at the Donald Ross Intercollegiate in October and the C&F Bank Intercollegiate in March.