Lancers get fifth win in last seven games

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Longwood freshman catcher Corbin McCloud went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs in the best game of his young collegiate career, but still couldn’t get out of his postgame field duties.

“Little things matter,” said McCloud, whose final trip to the plate Tuesday night was to nail the last spike into the home plate tarp.

Longwood’s backup backstop did things both little and big Tuesday night, delivering hits in all four at bats, including a pair of doubles, to help send the Lancers (16-27, 9-20 Big South) past High Point 8-1 in a Big South showdown at Buddy Bolding Stadium.

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The performance was a breakthrough for the Chesapeake native, who entered the game with four career hits but doubled that by the seventh inning. He singled in a run in the bottom of the second, followed with another base hit in the fourth and launched back-to-back doubles in the fifth and seventh to string together Longwood’s sixth four-hit game of the season.

Junior shortstop Ricky Jimenez also drove in three runs as the Lancers tagged 11 hits and continued a late-season surge that has now seen them win five of their past seven games, all in Big South play. The win was also Longwood’s second straight over High Point (14-25, 12-19 Big South) following another 8-1 win one month prior on April 10.

“It’s been the little things,” McCloud said of Longwood’s hot streak. “You put all the little things together for nine innings, and that’s what wins baseball games. Throw strikes, hit the baseball hard. We have a really good team with the talent to do that.”

Longwood’s latest win in that tear also featured error-free defense and a strong performance on the mound by freshman starter Andrew Potojecki (2-2) and freshman relievers Michael Tolson and Sean Gibbons. Those three scattered seven hits and a pair of walks against a High Point team ranked fourth in the Big South in batting average and armed with the league’s No. 3 hitter in first baseman Cole Singsank.

“I thought we played some really good defense today, and then we got an outstanding effort on the mound as well,” Longwood head coach Ryan Mau said. “When we put all three facets of the game together, it makes it a lot easier. Andrew Potojecki gave us a great outing. Michael Tolson was really the piece that quieted High Point at the back end of the game, and then Sean Gibbons finished it. Three freshmen did a great job today.”

Singsank went hitless against that trio to snap an eight-game hitting streak and was also the victim of Longwood’s 25th double play of the season in the bottom of the fifth. Right fielder Brady Pearre was the lone Panther with multiple hits, finishing 3-for-3 with three singles and a walk, but Longwood’s arms never allowed him past second base all night.

Jump-starting Longwood’s performance on the mound was Potojecki, who shook off an RBI single by Adam Stuart in the first inning to cruise through the rest of his five complete innings. He worked around six hits and struck out three before handling the ball to Tolson, who fired three hitless frames to take the game into the ninth. Tolson struck out a career-high four and allowed his only baserunners by walk and a hit batter before Gibbons fired a scoreless ninth to close out the win.

“They’re electric. It’s fun,” McCloud said, who caught all nine innings in his fifth career start. “They get up there. They do their thing and they work hard for us. It’s good to see them come out and show what they can do. Holding High Point to one run is big. They’re a really good team.”

Now the Lancers enter their final stretch of the 2021 regular season with a pair of two-game series against Big South foes Winthrop on May 14-15 and Charleston Southern on May 20-21.