HIGH POINT, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - High Point starter Jared Avidon allowed one run in six innings and a four-run third inning propelled No. 7 High Point to a 7-1 victory over No. 6 UNC Asheville in Game 6 of the 2012 Big South Baseball Championship presented by Brookwood Farms BBQ and Triangle Rent A Car at Williard Stadium on the campus of High Point University. The Panthers improve to 27-30 and advance to play the loser of No. 2 Campbell-No. 3 Liberty in an elimination game on Thursday evening. UNC Asheville falls to 25-30 and is eliminated from the tournament.
High Point took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Josh Spano opened with a walk and after Sean Wilson struck out, Devin Bujnovsky singled to center to move Spano to second. Ryan Retz followed with a single to left to bring home Spano with the early advantage.
The Panthers made it 5-0 in the third when Dane McDermott singled and scored on Spano's one-out single to center, and Bujnovsky later tripled to the gap in right-center that scored Spano and Spencer Angelis. Bujnovsky come home on Retz's line drive single.
Asheville scored its first run in the fifth inning when Jordan Lurie opened with a single and moved to second when Thomas Bess walked. Lurie advanced to third on Billy Creighton's double play ground out and scored on a wild pitch by Avidon that made the score 5-1.
The Panthers got the run back in the next inning when Mike Miedzianowski reached on an error and eventually scored on Ryne Rush's single to right to put HPU back ahead by five runs at 6-1. High Point added an insurance run in the top of the ninth for the final margin.
Avidon allowed six hits and struck out five in improving to 3-5. Will Resnik and John Maloney combined to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard the final three frames. Spano, Bujnovsky and Retz tallied two RBI each to lead the HPU offense.
Asheville starter Ryan Dull (5-5) gave up nine hits and five runs in just three innings -- his second-shortest outing of the season. He struck out four batters to finish his career with 237, good for second all-time in UNC Asheville history. Hunter Bryant led the Bulldogs with three hits, while Bess had two.
HPU's victory marks the first win by a No. 7 seed in the Big South Tournament since 2000. It was also High Point's first win over Asheville in four meetings in the Conference postseason.
High Point Head Coach Craig Cozart
"It all started with pitching and Jared Avidon was sensational for the second straight start. I am very proud at the way he has performed at the end of the season. The guys in the middle of the order drove in runs, Devin Bujnovsky and Josh Spano had great at bats. It feels good to be playing tomorrow."
UNC Asheville Head Coach Tom Smith
"I hope it wasn't a matter of running out of gas, but I've got to give High Point a lot of credit. They hit it better, pitched it better and they deserved to win. We wished for a better tournament performance. I've got to do a better job of getting the team ready to play ... A lot of players made strides for us this year and our seniors showed good leadership. All in all it was a pretty good year and we've got a lot to look forward to next year."