Seven runs in the bottom of the 8th inning catapult the High Point-Thomasville HiToms past the Asheboro Copperheads 14-3 Wednesday night at Historic Finch Field.
Mississippi State's Luke Hancock paced the HiTom offense with a 4-for-5 game at the plate, including a home run, two doubles, and six RBIs.
The win moves the HiToms into a tie with the Forest City Owls for the first place in the CPL West Division in the 2nd half of play. High Point-Thomasville will host the Owls Friday night after travelling to face the Gastonia Grizzlies Thursday night at Sims Legion Park.
The 14 HiTom runs tied a season-high, matching the 14 HPT scored in a 14-10 win against Forest City on July 6th.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The HiToms ousted Asheboro starting pitcher Joe Miller after he threw 91 pitches in just three innings. Miller struck out seven batters, walked seven, and allowed just one hit - but it was a big one.
Hancock mashed his home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the 3rd to score North Carolina's Angel Zarate, who returned to the lineup after being out for nearly two weeks with an injured shoulder.
Asheboro responded with a run in the top of the 4th, but the HiToms answered back. Catawba's Cameron Mills scored from second on a wild pitch to make it 3-1, and Hancock roped his first double of the night to score Zarate once more and push the lead to 4-1.
The Copperheads managed another run in the 6th to cut the deficit, but HPT answered again, this time tallying three runs in the bottom of the inning. Hancock's second double scored Dallas Baptist's Blayne Jones for the first run - Southern Miss' Danny Lynch and Middle Tennessee's Josh Baker each chipped in with sacrifice flies to score Zarate and Hancock and give the HiToms a 7-2 lead.
The visitors got another run in the top of the 8th on a solo home run by Sean Phelan, but High Point-Thomasville landed the knockout blow in the bottom of the frame.
HPT loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single by UNCW's Kip Brandenburg. Winston-Salem State's Luke Spiva followed with a towering single to the wall to score Lynch from third. Mills added his second hit of the night to score Brandenburg and Baker and push the HiToms lead to 10-3.
Catawba's Bryce Butler drove in Spiva with a fielder's choice before Jones brought home Mills to push the advantage to 12-3.
But the HiToms weren't done, as Hancock capped his night with his fourth hit, a single to score Butler and Jones and complete the seven-run inning.
Dallas Baptist's Luke Trahan got the start and the win for High Point-Thomasville, allowing two runs over 5-and-2/3 innings. Tiffin's Michael Boswell closed the final 3-and-1/3, surrendering just one run and striking out seven batters.
The HiToms face the Gastonia Grizzlies in another critical CPL West Division game Thursday night at 7:05 at Sims Legion Park. Listen live to the call of the game on hitoms.com or at mixlr.com/hitomsbaseball.
High Point-Thomasville then will welcome the Forest City Owls to Finch Field Friday night as part of a string of important West Division games - first pitch is set for 7:00, gates open at 6:00! Be sure to join us and support your HiToms as they make a playoff push!