Army Falls To High Point, 2-0, In Season Opener

Logan Lee

Logan Lee

Feb. 17, 2012

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HIGH POINT, N.C. - Malcolm Clapsaddle tossed six scoreless innings and High Point broke up a scoreless contest with a pair of runs in the sixth inning as the Panthers slipped past Army, 2-0, in the season opener for both squads Friday afternoon at Coy O. Williard Stadium.

Clapsaddle (1-0) retired the first 11 Army batters before Kevin McKague laced a single through the left side of the infield with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. The High Point starter, who fired four 1-2-3 innings, allowed three hits in six frames while striking out three.

Army starter Logan Lee matched Clapsaddle through the first five innings as a classic pitchers' duel unfolded in front of a packed house at Williard Stadium. The Black Knights' senior lefty yielded just two hits in five scoreless frames before being replaced by Colin Briant to start the sixth inning. Lee, who struck out six and did not permit a walk during his dominant outing, retired the final 12 batters he faced.

Neither team generated much offense until the top of the sixth inning when Army put together its first threat of the contest. Matthew Carter ripped a one-out single through the left side of the infield and moved to third on Zach Price's base hit to right field. Price was erased on the play, however, as he made a big turn at first base and the High Point shortstop cut off the throw from right field and threw behind him. Daniel Cortes was hit by a pitch to keep the inning alive, putting runners on the corners and two outs. Clapsaddle wriggled out of the jam unscathed, however as McKague grounded into a fielder's choice to end the threat.

High Point pushed across the only runs of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Panthers strung together a two-out rally against Army reliever Colin Briant (0-1). Ryan Retz ignited the uprising with a two-out single through the left side of the infield. Retz advanced to second base when Sal Pezzino drew a four-pitch walk, and took third after Briant hit Spencer Angelis with a pitch. Ryne Rush then drew a bases-loaded walk to force home the game's first run. Army summoned Manny Fernandez from the bullpen, but he allowed Andrew Bartlett to drive in the second run on an RBI fielder's choice to make it 2-0.

The Black Knights were able to avoid any further damage, however, as Fernandez got pinch-hitter Scott Glover to fly out to right field.

Army's offense threatened again in the eighth inning as Harold Earls hit a leadoff single and moved to second base after Cortes was hit by a pitch with two outs. Jaime Schultz was brought out of the High Point bullpen to face McKague, and the Panther reliever got Army's three-hole hitter to foul out to squelch the scoring chance.

Schultz struck out the side in the ninth inning to nail down the save.

Both teams recorded five hits in the contest. Army pitchers combined to strike out nine High Point batters, while the Panthers' pitching staff fanned six Black Knights.

"I thought our pitching was solid for the most part today," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "We received good performances from both Logan Lee and Andrew Flaherty, and I was happy to see Manny Fernandez return to the mound and throw the ball well.

"The most important thing for our young team is to get out and play the game," added Sottolano. "It was nice to see Matthew Carter, Harold Earls and Michael Sands collect their first career base hits. Our young guys are going to continue to improve as they see more reps."

Army and High Point close out their three-game set on Saturday, Feb. 18, with a doubleheader scheduled for 12 p.m.

Game Notes: Today marked the first-ever meeting between Army and High Point ... Kevin McKague's fourth inning single moved him into a tie for fourth place on the Academy's all-time hits list (209) with Shaun Salmon (USMA '00) ... Matthew Carter's sixth inning single marked his first career hit ... Harold Earls' eighth inning single marked his first career hit ... Michael Sands singled in his first career at-bat in the ninth inning ... the Black Knights' starting lineup included three freshmen with Daniel Cortes in left field, Harold Earls at third base and Alex Jensen at shortstop ... Manny Fernandez, who missed all of last season, made his first appearance since 2010 ... Andrew Flaherty made the first appearance of his career and struck out two batters in two scoreless innings of relief.

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