HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University baseball team set an HPU Div. I single-game record with 17 strikeouts on its way to a 4-2 win over Radford in the first game of a three-game series against the Highlanders on Friday night at Williard Stadium.
“This was a true Friday-night ball game,” said head coach Craig Cozart. “These are two of the best teams in the Big South and the game lived up to that. We had great pitching and clutch hitting tonight and got a win against a solid team.”
Ryan Retz went 5-1/3 innings to improve to 5-2 on the season. The junior allowed just two runs, one earned, on six hits and tied his career high with eight strikeouts. It is the second-straight week that Retz has picked up eight punch outs in a game. Retz has won three straight starts, all over Big South opponents.
Freshman Joe Goodman went 3-1/3 innings without allowing a run to get the hold while redshirt-sophomore Jaime Schultz picked up the final four outs for his sixth save of the season. Schultz is now tied with Dennis Olley for eighth in the HPU record book with six saves in a season. Olley recorded six saves in 1972.
Goodman struck out six Highlander batters on the night while Schultz added three strikeouts including the record-breaking K on the final at-bat of the game. Goodman tied his career high for strikeouts which he set on March 9 against Manhattan.
The Panthers’ 17 strikeouts broke their previous record of 16 which was set by HPU in a 13-inning game on May 21, 2010 against Charleston Southern.
Senior Sal Pezzino went 3-4 from the plate with an RBI while junior Sean Wilson went 1-3 and scored two runs.
With the win, HPU improves to 21-12 overall and 6-1 in the Big South. The Panthers have won four straight league games. Radford falls to 15-14 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
RBI singles by Pezzino in the first and freshman Dane McDermott in the second staked the Panthers to an early 2-0 lead as Retz cruised through the first three innings of the game, striking out four-straight batters and not allowing a hit.
Retz worked out of bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth innings, using a sacrifice fly and strikeout in the fourth and a double play in the fifth to limit the damage to a single Highlander run.
The Panthers got the run back in the bottom of the fifth when junior Willie Medina led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a failed pick-off attempt by Radford’s Eddie Butler. Medina moved to third on a fly ball to the warning track by Pezzino and came home on a hard groundout to second by Retz.
Radford picked up a run in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Hunter Higgerson and loaded the bases with one out for the third-straight inning before Goodman came in and got out of the jam with a strikeout and a shallow popup to right field to maintain the 3-2 lead.
High Point picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Wilson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and came around to score when RU’s Jeff Kemp picked up a throwing error on an infield single by Pezzino.
Butler took the loss for Radford, dropping to 2-3 on the season. He tossed eight innings for his first complete game of the season. Butler gave up four runs, two earned, on seven hits. He walked three and struck out five in the game.
High Point and Radford will return to Williard Stadium for a twin bill on Saturday, April 7. The first pitch of game one will begin at 1 p.m.