Charleston, S.C. - High Point took advantage of a two-out error to score five times in the top of the eighth, and the Panthers went on to hand The Citadel a 7-2 defeat on the final day of the Homewood Suites Tournament presented by Charleston Crab House.
The loss dropped The Citadel to 2-1 and prevented the Bulldogs from opening a season with three wins for the first time since 1983. High Point won two straight after losing on Friday and is also 2-1 on the young season.
With the score tied at 1 in the top of the eighth, High Point loaded the bases with one out against Logan Cribb before Ryan Hines came in to get Brett Gemmell to foul out to third. Kevin Connell relieved Hines to face the left-handed hitting Adam Barry and induced a grounder to short, but Johnathan Stokes threw wide of Bo Thompson at first to allow the tiebreaking runs to cross the plate.
Josh Spano followed with a two-run single and a fifth run scored on a wild pitch to give the Panthers a 6-1 lead. The Bulldogs got a single from Drew DeKerlegand and a double by Bo Thompson in the eighth but scored only once on an infield grounder by Tyler Griffin.
Freshman right-hander Austin Mason enjoyed a solid college debut on the mound for The Citadel, allowing only one run and three hits in six innings of work but did not figure in the decision. Jared Avidon matched Mason pitch for pitch, throwing eight innings of six-hit ball with five strikeouts.
High Point took a 1-0 lead in the second when Barry doubled, went to third on a single by Spano and scored on a slow grounder in front of the plate. The Bulldogs tied it in the fourth when Thompson was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a single by Griffin and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bailey Rush.
That proved to be The Citadel's only scoring play until the eighth. The Bulldogs had Griffin at third with one out in the fourth and got runners to second in the sixth and seventh but could not get the key two-out hit to go in front. Brett Bullard singled and Stokes doubled to lead off the ninth against reliever Joe Goodman, but any hopes of a comeback ended when Goodman retired the final three batters.
The Citadel returns to action Wednesday at Riley Park with a 6 p.m. game against Winthrop before hitting the road for the first time this season with three games at North Florida in Jacksonville Friday through Sunday.