HIGH POINT, N.C. - Campbell Henkel allowed just two runs over 5 2/3 innings, but High Point Panther starting pitcher Matt Armstead pitched a complete game shutout, leading his team over the VMI Keydets 2-0 in Big South baseball action Saturday night in High Point, N.C.
Armstead (3-2) pitched the second straight complete game for High Point (18-11, 4-1 Big South), as he allowed just five VMI (9-17, 3-5) hits in the ball game and retired the final 16 batters he faced. Henkel scattered seven hits and struck out four in his solid outing, but took the hard luck loss to fall to 1-3 on the season.
High Point struck first on the 70-degree day, manufacturing a run in the first inning after a double, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly, but the Keydets threatened in the second. Jacob Morley led off with a double, and Gary LeClair followed with a single. A stolen base moved LeClair into scoring position, but Berkley Hawkins fouled out to first baseman Sal Pezzino. Nick Dwyer grounded to first, and Drew Bryan bounced to short to end the inning with no VMI runs crossing the plate.
The Panthers added to their lead in the second, as Mike Miedzianowski doubled to left, just beyond a diving LeClair, to start the rally. Dane McDermott then singled up the middle, scoring a run and putting HPU up, 2-0. That would cap the scoring, but not for a lack of chances.
VMI had the first of those opportunities in the third, as with two outs, George Piccirilli singled and then stole second. Cameron Walter then hit a 1-2 pitch back through the box, but Piccirilli was thrown out at the plate on a very close play, ending the inning.
High Point then put two runners on in the fifth, but Henkel struck out two straight hitters to end the inning. The home team then had a runner in scoring position in both the sixth and the seventh, but VMI reliever Michael Devine escaped both jams and the game headed the ninth with the Keydets still trailing, 2-0. Piccirilli drilled a 1-2 pitch from into deep right center, bidding for an extra-base hit which would have brought the tying run to the plate. McDermott, however, made a diving, tumbling catch to take the hit away, and the final two VMI hitters were retired as well to end the game.
No VMI offensive player recorded a two-hit game, while HPU saw Miedzianowski and Ryan Retz post two hits apiece.
VMI baseball will return to action Sunday, taking on High Point in the finale of the series. Game time is set for 1 p.m.