HPU Wins Despite A&T's Strong Hitting Night
GREENSBORO (April 4, 2017) – North Carolina A&T had an inning where they could not get the timely hitting they wanted while High Point University had an inning where they did get timely hits in what turned out to be a 9-5 HPU win in non-conference baseball at War Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Aggies (14-13) had a productive night at the plate against the Panthers with 15 hits. Junior shortstop Brandon Melendez and sophomore catcher Jarrett Norman had three hits apiece with Melendez also finishing with three RBI and two runs scored. Junior Greg White and redshirt sophomore A.J. Hunt had two hits apiece and senior Kyle Clary scored twice.
It was, however, HPU (14-14) with the early start. Hunter Lee’s two-run RBI double in the second gave HPU a 2-0 lead. The Aggies did get a run back in their half of the second. A Melendez triple with runners on first and second allowed Clary to score from second, but Ravare was thrown out at home plate by Lee who took a relay throw from right fielder Carter Jackson.
HPU then put together their timely hitting inning and that timely hitting came with two outs. Blake Schunk hit a two-out single through the right side to move Tim Mansfield, who opened the inning with a single, to third. Lee drove an 0-2 pitch from Aggies right-hand starter Josh Bottenfield through the left side to score Mansfield for a 3-1 Panthers lead. Zach Gray got another for the Panthers to score another run before Conner Dunbar hit a shallow fly ball to center field that Myles Sowell could not get to in time as Gray and Lee scored. Dunbar moved to second on the throw home and eventually scored on a J.J. Woodard single to give HPU a 7-1 lead.
N.C. A&T did fight back. Trailing 8-2 in the going into the fourth, Melendez hit a two-run homer to cut the Panthers lead in half. The fifth inning presented the Aggies another opportunity to take another chunk out of HPU’s lead. Three straight one-out singles from Adan Ordonez, Hunt and Norman loaded the bases for Clary. Clary took a 3-2 pitch that he thought was ball four as he began to head to first base. But with Clary a third of the way to first base, he was called out on a third strike putting the Panthers one out away from getting out of the jam. Senior Timothy Ravare flied out to right to end the inning.
The Aggies did get a run in the sixth to get to within three runs at 8-5 as freshman and reigning rookie of the week in the MEAC Camden Williamson doubled down the left field line to score Melendez who reached on a single. Unfortunately, Williamson was thrown out trying to reach third for the second out of the inning. The inning ended with a Sowell fly out. After the Panthers added another run in their ninth, the Aggies did try to stage a two-out comeback in the bottom of the ninth.
Hunt walked and Norman singled off reliever Jeremy Johnson (RHP), but Johnson got Clary to fly out for the final out of the game. HPU was 6-for-17 with runners in scoring position, while the Aggies were 3-for-12. Joe Johnson (RHP) picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the season. Jeremy Johnson picked up his first save of the season, while Bottenfield (3-4) took the loss.
UNC Greensboro will come to War Memorial Stadium on Wednesday for a 6 p.m., contest.