ROCK HILL, SC–Winthrop scored four runs in the first inning and made it stand up for a 8-4 victory over Davidson on a chilly Tuesday night at The Winthrop Ballpark.
The eight runs are the most scored by the Eagles this season as the Eagles improve to 8-16 while Davidson slips to 8-15.
Winthrop jumped on losing pitcher Bryan DaCanal for four runs on five hits in the first inning as six straight batters reached base. Luke Maldonado started things off with a one-out single to leftfield and moved to second on a single by Cody Dolan who extended his hitting streak to five games. Clay Altman then delivered an RBI single to right to give Winthrop the early lead. Dolan came in to score the second run on an infield grounder by Jace Whitley. Max Vogel then lined a single to centerfield that bounced off the glove of Forrest Brandt that allowed Whitley to score all the way from first for the third run. Vogel advanced to second on the play and then scored the fourth run of the frame on a single to left by Max Vogel.
Davidson made it a 4-2 game in the top of the fourth inning as Andrew Barna connected for his 6th home run of the season with a drive over the left field wall off Winthrop starting pitcher Joey Strain following an infield single by Brandt. Strain, who was on a pitch count limit, was lifted in favor of lefthanded reliever Sam Kmiec after he gave up a double to left by Michael Zeblo.
The Wildcats trimmed the Winthrop lead to 4-3 in the fifth inning as they scored a run after two were out. Sam Foy singled, stole second and then scored on a hit by David Daniels off Kmiec.
Winthrop then put the game away by scoring one run in the sixth, two in the seventh and another in the eighth. Whitley and Vogel opened the sixth with back-to-back singles and then moved up a base on a balk by Wildcat relief pitcher Durin O’Linger. Whitley scored on an infield ground out by Austin Barber. Maldonado, who led the Eagles at the plate with three hits, opened the seventh inning with his third single and moved to second on a hard shot to third by Dolan who was thrown out at first after a great snag by Daniels. Maldonado came in the score on Altman’s second RBI single of the game. Altman advanced around to third on back-to-back wild pitches by Andrew Pope and scored when Vogel delivered a single to right.
Davidson plated an unearned run in the eighth inning when Brandt reached on a fielding error by the shortstop and then stole second. He scored when Zeblo lined a single to center.
The Eagles closed out their scoring with a run in the eighth. Barber opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on an infield single by Nate Bateman. Barber scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Altman.
Strain was credited with the win to improve the freshman’s record to 2-3 while DaCanal’s record drops to 1-2.
Winthrop will travel to Chapel Hill on Wednesday to face the No. 1 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels who own a 22-1 record. Coach Tom Riginos will send lefthander Mitchell Knox to the mound. He is 1-1 and will be making his first start of the season. The game time has been changed to 4:00 p.m.