HIGH POINT, N.C. - The UNC Asheville baseball team rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth inning to earn a 5-4 victory over Big South Conference foe High Point on Friday evening at Willard Stadium, as the Bulldogs take game one of the three-game series.
With the win the Bulldogs improve to 20-23 on the year with a 9-10 mark in Big South play. The win by the Blue & White marks the most wins in a season for Asheville since 2008, when they won 24 contests.
High Point drops to 23-22 overall and 8-8 in conference games.
Asheville's Dillon Tabar picked up the win in relief to improve to 1-1 on the season. Tabar tossed 2.1 shutout innings to get the decision. Dean Roland got the start and tossed 6.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits while striking out nine Panthers.
Jaime Schultz took the loss, going two innings and allowing one run, unearned on two hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Ryan Retz started and went 6-2/3 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
HPU jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Sean Wilson and Willie Medina led off the game with back-to-back singles and came around to score on a double to the right-center gap by Rush. After a single by Retz advanced Rush to third, the freshman came in to score on a sacrifice fly to deep left by Devin Bujnovsky.
Asheville picked up a run in the top of the second inning as Patrick Koontz reached base on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a passed ball before coming around to score on a groundball single to center by Todd Joyner. Koontz just beat the throw from Wilson sliding around the tag by freshman catcher Josh Spano.
Joyner struck again in the top of the fifth taking a Retz offering over the right field fence to bring the score to 3-2. The home run was Joyner's second of the season.
High Point picked up another run in the bottom of the seventh as Retz drove in Medina with a single to centerfield. Medina reached on an error and moved to second on a single by Rush before coming around to score on the Retz single.
Asheville took its first and only lead of the game in the top of the eighth scoring three runs on a wild pitch, a bases-loaded walk and a passed ball to go up, 5-4.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow evening at 6 p.m., before finishing out the series on Sunday afternoon.