Winthrop baseball takes on Penn in 3 game tilt this weekend.

Posted March 8, 2013 7:47 am | Filed under Sports

ROCK HILL, SC — In the midst of a four game losing streak, Winthrop looks to turn things around in a three game weekend series against Pennsylvania at The Winthrop Ballpark.

Winthrop (3-9) plays host to Penn (2-4) in the first matchup between the two schools in program history. The games are scheduled to be played on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Winthrop traveled back to Rock Hill last Sunday from a three game weekend road trip to Orlando with three hard-fought losses to Central Florida (3-0, 12-7, 7-6). The drought extended to four games Wednesday night when the Eagles fell to the Citadel for the second time this season 3-1.

Similar to Winthrop, the Quakers are coming off a 17-win season in 2012 (17-23 overall). The schedule for Penn so far this year has consisted of a road trip to Williamsburg, VA to take on William & Mary and a trip to Durham, NC where they faced off against the Duke Blue Devils in a two-game set. The Quakers managed to come away with a victory on each trip giving them a 2-4 record on this early season.

Penn has gotten an early offensive surge this season with seven players hitting above .300 (Ryan Deitrich – .500, Spencer Branigan – .381, Mitch Montaldo – .353, Austin Bossart – .333, Michael Vilardo – .321, Brandon Engelhardt – .320, and Conner Betbeze – .500). As a team, the Quakers are hitting .292 on the season. On the mound, Penn has gotten contributions from a committee of pitchers most notably Pat Bet (1-0) who maintains a 1.00 ERA on the season.

Although the Eagles have failed to find the timely big hit as of late, Winthrop is averaging 7.5 hits per game this year. They continue to be led at the plate by Cody Dolan (.375 avg.) who has reached base safely in every game he has played in so far this season (11).

Senior Matt Pierpont (1-1) continues to lead the Eagles on the mound as he currently holds a minuscule 1.83 ERA over 19.2 innings of work while holding opposing hitters to a .186 batting average. The Winthrop bullpen, anchored by senior Eric Ruth (1-0), has been one of the main assets of the team early on this year. In five appearances this season, Ruth maintains an impressive 1.08 ERA while holding opponents to a .194 average. Winthrop has gotten strong contributions from Josh Strong, Mitchell Knox, Jared Keels, and Steven Howell out of the bullpen as well.

Expected to start on the hill for the Eagles this weekend are right-handers Matt Pierpont on Friday, Joey Stain on Saturday, and Tyler Klitsch on Sunday.