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Opponent Preview: High Point (Part Deux)

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Meet the Panthers (again)... A team on a slide

COLLEGE BASEBALL: FEB 27 High Point at North Carolina Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: High Point

Mascot: Sixty Percent of the Time Workers | School Location: High Point, NC | Conference: Big South

2022 Record: 12-25 (7-8, 6th) | 2022 RPI Rank: 247

2021 Record: 14-31 (12-25, 9th) | 2021 RPI Rank: 240

2020 Record: 7-9 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 178


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Truist Point (High Point, NC)

Game Time(s): Wed, Apr 20 @ 6:30pm

TV: ESPN+ (Wednesday)

Radio: The Varsity Network (Wednesday)

Live Stats: Sidearm Sports


Tell me about this team

Okay, let’s not reinvent the wheel here since the Wolfpack and Panthers have already played this year. Here’s the preview for that game.

And here’s how that game ended: An 18-3 triumph by NC State.

Okay, so how has High Point’s season gone since that game? Down, then up, then down again, then up again. And currently very much down.

The loss to State was part of a 1-8 start for High Point. They then swept a very good College of Charleston team that is currently leading the Colonial, but followed that up with six straight losses. However, they followed that up with five straight wins, including four in conference. That winning streak briefly staked the Panthers to a 4-1 mark in the Big South that had them tied with Campbell for first place in the conference. Of course, the other shoe dropped (again) and HPU is just 3-11 since.

Not everything has been horrible. Javon Fields and Peyton Carr have been excellent hitting the ball and Charlie Klingler has come on recently as potentially another offensive weapon. Sam Garcia looks like a potential ace for the Panthers and Teddy Merritt has posted five starts this year of 5.0+ innings and 2 or fewer earned runs allowed. That’s a great starting point for 2023 as Garcia, Merritt, Carr, and Klingler are just second-year players. Fields also could return next year if he doesn’t get drafted.

The issue this year, though, is that there simply aren’t enough bats, and even those that do get on base consistently aren’t hitting for power, so there’s not enough to drive in runs. The bullpen is also weak.

Clearly these guys have shown that they can play some really good baseball, but Joey Hammond has a tough rebuild ahead of him.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Wednesday: TBD


Key Players:

Offense

CF Javon Fields (rJR) - .323/.420/.434, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 12 R, 19 RBI, 16 BB, 23 K, 2 HBP, 10-13 SB. Heating up at the right time a he’s hitting .462 over the last 11 games including 6 extra-base hits. Should be in line for some postseason all-conference honors.

3B/DH Peyton Carr (SO) - .313/.411/.445, 8 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 20 R, 21 RBI, 18 BB, 20 K, 4 HBP, 0-0 SB. Just a solid and consistent hitter. Has moved up to the two-hole in the lineup to maximize his at-bats, which is absolutely the right call.

LF Charlie Klingler (SO) - .356/.434/.438, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 11 R, 8 RBI, 9 BB, 11 K, 1 HBP, 3-4 SB. Has nine multi-hit games this year, which is impressive considering he’s only played in 22 (20 starts). Is 7-for-16 in his last four games. Lefty hitter bats leadoff.

Pitching

RHP Teddy Merritt (SO) - 3-4, 0 SV, 6.31 ERA, 45.2 IP, 57 H, 25 BB, 48 K. Started against State the first time they played this year and it did not go well (1.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). He won’t pitch this time, though, as he’s been moved to the weekend rotation. Removing the start against Kentucky in early March where he got knocked around good, he’s only allowed 10 earned runs over six starts spanning 33.1 innings, walking 20 and striking out 33.

LHP Sam Garcia (SO) - 2-3, 1 SV, 2.13 ERA, 42.1 IP, 36 H, 9 BB, 36 K. Started off the year as a reliever (he pitched a scoreless inning against the Pack in February), he moved to the weekend rotation when conference play started up. Since that move, has allowed just 7 earned runs over five starts spanning 25.2 innings, walking 8 and striking out 18.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Truist Point is the home field of the High Point Rockers of the Atlantic League. The Rockers open their season on Thursday night at home with $1 beer night.

With NC State’s win over High Point earlier this year, the Wolfpack now hold an 18-12 advantage in the series all-time.

The Wolfpack and Panthers have played four common opponents thus far this year: Virginia Tech, UNCG, Elon, Longwood. HPU is 2-6 in games versus those teams while NC State is 4-2.


Prediction

High Point used their top reliever (RHP Sean Duffy) as a starter in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss at Elon. The Panthers simply don’t have enough quality arms.

Outcome: A Wolfpack win