Panthers Edge Bucs 2-1 in Big South TournamentMay 19, 2009
Courtesy of Big South League Office
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Despite out hitting the High Point Panthers 12-7, the Bucs were edged out in their first game of the Big South Tournament by the High Point Panthers by a final of 2-1. High Point was first to score, but the Bucs battled, looking as if they could take the game with two threatening rallies late in the game, but were unable to capitalize in the end, leaving nine stranded.
High Point’s Bill Manion had two hits and a key RBI to lead the No. 6-seeded Panthers past No. 7 Charleston Southern, 2-1, in Game A of the 2009 Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championship, at historic McCormick Field in Asheville, N.C. With the victory, High Point improves to 20-30 and advances to the main double-elimination bracket of the tournament. HPU will play either No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina or No. 2 seed Winthrop on Wednesday, depending on the outcome of tonight’s Game B between No. 5 Gardner-Webb-No. 8 VMI. High Point also reaches the main bracket for the first time since 2007. Charleston Southern’s season ends at 16-37.
First year head coach Stuart Lake expressed disappointment with the outcome of the game, but believes there are good things in store for the future of the program and its players: “It was a hard fought loss, especially for our seniors, but we are proud of our season. There is always room to grow, so we are looking to next season and the opportunities that holds for our program. Our seniors were great competitors and did some great things for our program this season, our younger guys will use that to grow with and continue to push our program to be as competitive as it can be.”
High Point opened the game’s scoring in the bottom of the second. Max Fulginiti doubled down the right field line and later reached third on Pablo Rosario’s ground out to second. Eric Marion’s two-out single scored Fulginiti to give High Point a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers moved ahead 2-0 in the fifth inning when Manion extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a single to left that brought home Jeff Cowan from second base. Cowan reached base with a one-out single to center field and advanced to second on Alfie Wheeler’s groundout to short.
Charleston Southern cut the lead to 2-1 in the next inning. Nick Chinners singled up the middle with one out off the third High Point pitcher of the day, Brian Jones, and moved to third on Tyler Thornburg’s double. Derek Smith’s sacrifice fly to right plated Chinners with CSU’s first run of the day, with Thornburg advancing to third. The rally ended there, as Kory Morian flied out to center to end the inning.
The Buccaneers also threatened in the seventh. Mark Perry doubled to the gap in left with one out, and later reached third on Brantley Meier’s two-out infield single off new HPU pitcher Jeremy Berg. With runners on the corners, Berg got Patrick Dolan to fly out to left to end the inning. Charleston Southern again rallied in the top of the ninth with back-to-back singles from Perry and Tom Burkett, but Berg induced Meier into a comeback grounder to end the game.
High Point’s Corey Swickle was credited with the win, improving to 2-2. He tossed three innings of shutout ball and permitted just two hits with three strikeouts. Berg earned his fourth save of the season with 2.1 scoreless innings and three hits allowed. CSU’s Jesse Cadenhead suffered the loss (4-6). He went five innings and allowed five hits, both HPU runs and struck out two batters. Keith Hustedt relieved Cadenhead with three scoreless frames.
Manion and Fulginiti each had two hits for High Point, which finished with seven on the day. Burkett was 3-4 at the plate for Charleston Southern, with Meier, Thornburg and Perry collecting two hits each for CSU, which tallied 12 for the game.
High Point Head Coach Craig CozartRelated Item: Box Score
“It was a great team effort today. We battled throughout the entire contest and the solid pitching performance from all our guys set up our rotation for the remainder of the tournament.”
Charleston Southern Head Coach Stuart Lake
“It was a hard fought loss, especially for our seniors, but we are proud of our season. There is always room to grow, so we are looking to next season and the opportunities that holds for our program. Our seniors were great competitors and did some great things for our program this season, our younger guys will use that to grow with and continue and push our program to be as competitive as it can be.”